The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PDF opts for peace over rally
- Chowkbazar meet off after GNLF drive

Darjeeling, Sept. 15: Unwilling to enter into a confrontation with the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the People's Democratic Front (PDF) has decided to cancel its public meeting tomorrow.

The GNLF had started mobilising its supporters to derail the PDF movement and had also distributed pamphlets yesterday, warning the residents of a possible confrontation.

The PDF, after holding an emergent meeting today, decided that in the greater interest of the general public, it would be wise to cancel the meeting, scheduled to have taken place at Chowkbazar.

'We do not want violence, we do not want innocent people to lose their lives and property. For these reasons, we have decided to cancel the PDF's public meeting,' said a written statement issued by the front soon after the meeting.

The PDF, however, lambasted GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh and called him an 'agent of the state government'.

'To include the hills within the Sixth Schedule, a two-third majority of Parliament is needed. Subash Ghisingh, however, maintains that a simple majority will do. This is untrue and the state government too is supporting a false claim, though they know it is impossible to provide Sixth Schedule status to the hills of Darjeeling. If the state government wants to work in the interest of the people, they should give us Gorkha Pranta (a separate state),' the statement reads.

The town was bracing itself for a confrontation, so much so that traders had kept their shops open today ' Thursdays are a holiday ' and decided to stay away tomorrow.

Sources close to the PDF claimed that the Opposition coalition is dissatisfied with the state government's handling of the recent situation. 'After the GNLF's threatening postures there should have been flag marches and preventive arrests. The state government is, however, doing nothing of the kind,' alleged S.B. Zimba, leader of the ABGL, which is a constituent of the PDF.

'The recent incidents centred on our rally has proved that the issues we were raising about the Sixth Schedule are true. We will definitely not make one rally a prestige issue, as truth will always prevail,' said Madan Tamang, president, PDF.

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