The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pamphlet war in rally run-up
- GNLF plans counter meet

Darjeeling, Sept. 14: The GNLF today distributed pamphlets in town with an 'appeal' to residents here to stay away from the 'aimless' meetings of the People's Democratic Front (PDF).

This has triggered tension in the area as the party has maintained that it should not be held responsible 'if any untoward incident' takes place on September 16, the day the anti-Ghisingh coalition has scheduled a meeting at Chowk Bazar here.

'To protest against the activities (read anti-Hill) of the PDF and its aimless meeting, we (the people of Singmari-Tukvar constituency) have decided to bring out a protest birat (big rally) on the day (September 16). On that day, the rally will be a democratic one, but if there is an interference and any untoward incident takes place, leaders of the PDF Madan Tamang and D.K. Pradhan will be held responsible,' the appeal reads.

The Singmari-Tukvar constituency is a GNLF stronghold and residents from this area have been asked to attend the protest rally, the permission for which has not been given by the administration.

Sources maintain that the party has already mobilised its frontal organisation like the Gorkha National Women Organisation and Primary Teachers' Organisation to ensure a good participation.

Madan Tamang, the chairman of the PDF, said: 'We have already informed the people about the public meeting. This is a democratic country and everyone is free to voice his opinion. If the GNLF wants to voice its opinion, it can hold another meeting the next day and clarify its stand.'

Tamang maintained that the GNLF move was an old tactics of intimidating and terrorising the common man.

'Even in Mungpoo, they had warned the people that the names of those attending our meeting would be marked. However there was a good turnout. The people want to hear us speak,' he added.

The Opposition has raised some valid demands which includes making public the provisions and powers permissible under the Sixth Schedule, the agreement for which is to be signed by Subash Ghisingh 'under protest' (as he was not given the entire district).

The PDF also wants Ghisingh to spell out clearly the steps he has been mulling to garner support of two-thirds parliamentarians so as to bring about an amendment in the Constitution. Without the amendment the Hills cannot be granted the special provision.

Ghisingh's party has accused the PDF of raising questions so as to derail the process of acquiring the Sixth Schedule, the agreement for which is to be signed on September 22.

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