Darjeeling-The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) once again came to the forefront in the hills on Sunday with several supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) joining the GNLF at various places in Kurseong subdivision.
GNLF leaders claimed that thirty Morcha supporters and one CPI(M) supporter from Chiloney Dhura, about 8 km from Kurseong town, had joined the GNLF.
It is also learnt that 61 GJM supporters from Garidhura in the plains, also under Kurseong subdivision, joined crossed over to the GNLF on Sunday.
The GNLF leaders further claimed that a women’s wing of the GNLF was also constituted at Sukna, also in the plains, with 24 people joining in on Sunday.
“Many people were found joining the GNLF in Kurseong subdivision today with all of them being GJM affiliates previously. They volunteered to join our party by themselves saying that they were not happy with the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and would rather be happy with inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, which has been the GNLF’s main demand,” said senior GNLF leader Nima Lama, over the phone from Kurseong.
At Chiloney Dhura near Pankhabari the new entrants were found raising slogans of ‘We want 6th Schedule’ along with slogans of praise for the GNLF chief Ghisingh.
Speaking after joining the GNLF on Sunday, erstwhile GJM leader Sharan Khawas said: “Our demands had not been fulfilled by the formation of the GTA.
“Moreover, we feel that the problems of the labourers have not been addressed properly so we have decided to join the GNLF.” Khawas used to hold the labour portfolio under the Morcha in the GTA.
When asked about the future programmes of the GNLF, Lama said: “We have always been demanding inclusion in the Sixth Schedule and we are only waiting for the order from our chief for our future programmes in the hills. Till then we will continue our work of forming village committees.”
It may be mentioned here that on December 6, 2005, the state and central governments and GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh had signed a memorandum of settlement (MoS) for the inclusion of the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The GNLF had taken a back seat after April 2011 after the assembly election and Ghisingh had left the hills without a word. The GNLF party supporters were taken aback by that and the party showed minimum activities after that.
After a long time, the political outfit is showing signs of getting active in the hills once again.