The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Only victory matters, not details

Darjeeling, Dec. 6: They were ready since morning with dhumphus and madals, waiting for only the news to reach them.

When it did come'after Subash Ghisingh signed the memorandum of settlement in Delhi'a little after 3pm, residents of the Hill town broke into spontaneous celebration.

However, few people knew the reasons for the revelry. While some thought that all residents here have been given tribal status, others were of the opinion that the Hills have been already included within the Sixth Schedule. It was the 'victory' that mattered. Implications could come later.

As GNLF supporters of Sadar-II burst crackers and danced to the beat of dhumphus at Chowkbazar, leaders of the party flooded the market place with green (the colour of GNLF flag) abir. Traffic came to a standstill with curious onlookers stopping to watch the 'fun'.

For Pranay Rai, the GNLF commissioner, this was a historic moment as the path for conferring the Sixth Schedule has been cleared. 'After all, it is a new beginning for the Hill people,' he said.

The wall in Chowkbazar, popularly called the poster wall, virtually turned into a commentary field with supporters jostling for space for their posters. While placards wishing Ghisingh 'best of luck' were plastered in the morning itself, those thanking the GNLF chief were put up in the evening.

Party followers singing Nepali songs and shouting slogans also went around the town waving GNLF flags and anointing passers by with green tikas. Many also headed for Chowrastha for yet another round of celebrations, which started around 5.30 in the evening.

GNLF supporters from Singamari-Tukvar area, near here, came out to Chowrastha to compete with their counterparts in downtown Darjeeling and extend the revelry by another two hours.

Though most people seemed to be unaware of the powers and functions of the Sixth Schedule, they are ready to wait for Ghisingh to explain it to them on January 1 at Vah-Tukvar, the place where it all started a year ago.

In Kalimpong, GNLF supporters with party flags took out a rally and burst crackers. MLA Gaulan Lepcha, who was present at the 'victory celebrations', said: 'We are happy that the Bengal government agreed (to our proposal) in the end.'

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