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Before talks, battle on new hill set-up

Darjeeling, Nov. 24: A war of words between the ABGL and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has started in the hills ahead of next month’s tripartite meeting with Madan Tamang’s party alleging that an understanding has already been reached for an administrative set-up within Bengal.

The Morcha under Bimal Gurung on its part has clarified that it has not budged an inch from the demand for Gorkhaland but added that once the DGHC is dissolved, an administrative set-up may be necessary till the talks are on.

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that the Morcha wants another council which means that they want to stay within Bengal. This is a betrayal of their promise and the people’s aspiration,” said ABGL president Madan Tamang.

The ABGL has alleged that the Morcha had never launched a strong agitation but had always been enacting a drama. “During agitation, people go to jail but here it has been picnic time,” said Tamang. He also alleged that that five Morcha central committee members were ready to accept a set-up which is less than statehood and that he would disclose their names at an appropriate moment.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha, however, denied the allegations. Instead he alleged that Tamang was trying to mislead the people for his political survival.

“We want the DGHC to be dissolved immediately. Once it is dissolved, there may be an administrative vacuum. We have only said that till talks with the Centre and the state on the creation of Gorkhaland concludes, we may have to think of some administrative set-up to fill this vacuum,” said Chhetri. The Morcha claimed that it had not yet agreed to such an arrangement. “There is a distinct possibility that the proposal may be shot down if confusion is created about our commitment towards the creation of a separate state,” said Chhetri.

The issue of an interim set-up has stirred up a hornet’s nest. “Even Subash Ghisingh (GNLF chief) had said the DGHC was a temporary set-up,” said Tamang.

Chhetri, however, pointed out that Ghisingh had signed a document saying that the council was a full and final agreement. “He had also agreed to drop the demand for Gorkhaland in writing while signing the DGHC Accord in 1988,” said Chhetri.

According to a home ministry release issued after the tripartite meeting in New Delhi on August 11, apart from dropping the Sixth Schedule Bill and scrapping the DGHC, a new administrative framework would be created.

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