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4 May 2018

GNLF to fight for Sixth Schedule.... Slogan by Ghisingh's party: DGHC roll back, GTA go back

Vivek Chhetri, TT,  May 01, 2018, Darjeeling: The Gorkha National Liberation Front has decided to hit the streets to demand implementation of the Sixth Schedule status in the hills and appointment of apolitical administrator in the current Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

The GNLF on Monday held its central committee meeting in Darjeeling and it was chaired by the president, Mann Ghisingh.

Neeraj Zimba, the spokesman for the GNLF, said: "We have decided to hit the streets across the hills with the slogan; DGHC roll back, GTA go back."

The GNLF is expected to hold rallies from this week onwards.

The GNLF maintains that the GTA is an unconstitutional body and that the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, the administrative body that was replaced by the GTA in 2012, should be revived.

"Our demand, however, is that the Sixth Schedule status be implemented in the hills and our agitation will be for that," said Zimba.

The central and state governments and the GNLF had signed a memorandum of agreement on December 6, 2005, for including the hills within the Sixth Schedule. However, with the rise of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2007 with the Gorkhaland slogan and the loss of popular support by the GNLF, the Sixth Schedule issue went into backburner.

Zimba said the GNLF would also demand that the GTA be headed by an apolitical administrator. "It was not only Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa who helped restore peace and normalcy in the hills. We also played our role; there are many stakeholders who helped restore peace and normality," said Zimba.

The GNLF leader then said: "However, the GTA board of administration is working politically and is indulging in nepotism. After all, they have not come to the GTA with any mandate."

The party is seeking an appointment with chief minister Mamata Banerjee. GNLF president Ghisingh is expected to lead a delegation to Calcutta. "We will probably get an appointment with the chief minister after May 17 when rural election process gets over," said Zimba.

The GNLF also wants the state government to convene a bipartite meeting to "find a permanent solution" to the hills.

Ghisingh and GNLF general secretary Mahendra Chhetri have also been entrusted with the Hill Area Development Committee whose other members are Ajoy Edwards of the GNLF and Shubhamoy Chatterjee of Trinamul.

Asked if they would also relinquish their posts in the committee, Zimba said: "We are not interested in running the HADC. It is a very small body compared to the GTA and moreover, we had never demanded the committee. However, it was just a gift from the state government and anyway, it has not started functioning."

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