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Gorkha Janmukti Morcha slams ‘Nagarikta Diwas’ of GNLF

Darjeeling : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has denounced the Gorkha National Liberation Front for announcing its ‘Accord Day’ would henceforth be celebrated on August 23 instead of August 22 as was the practice over the past two decades. The change in date is because August 23 also happens to be the ‘Nagarikta Diwas’ for Gorkhas living in the country, claims the GNLF. The Subash Ghisingh-led GNLF settled for the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council on August 22, 1988 after a gory 26-month agitation for a separate state that saw more than 1,200 people dead. After being forced to take the back seat by Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ever since 2008, the GNLF was virtually inactive politically in the hills, until the Lok Sabha election this April. The party has once again picked up its demands such as the Sixth Schedule status for the Darjeeling hills and reinstatement of the defunct DGHC, while today’s quirky announcement was that the Gorkhas of the country were conferred with Indian citizenship on August 23, 1988.

The Darjeeling branch committee of the GNLF put up posters in town announcing Friday as the ‘Accord Day’ celebration day. “The DGHC was formed in August 1988 after much hardship and struggle. Most importantly, it has constitutional guarantee and is autonomous in the true sense of the term. We will observe Accord Day in the three sub-divisions of the hills in a big way,” said GNLF Darjeeling convener MG Subba. However, Subba refused to state whether Ghisingh would attend Friday’s programme. “Let us see. Our party chief’s health issue is a concern,” he said, adding, “The only plausible solution to the problems of the hills is by bringing the entire region under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Our party president will take this up with the Centre in coming days.” Meanwhile, GJM assistant general secretary Binay Tamang said, “We are against the GNLF celebrating the so-called ‘Nagarikta Diwas’. Such a move will only raise the citizenship question of all Gorkhas living in the country. It was Ghisingh who signed the DGHC accord on August 22, 1988; did he do so on an Indian or some other citizenship?”

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