The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ghisingh fire for 'communal' units
- GNLF chief to address 'divisive forces' issue at Tindharia on January 4

Vah Tukvar (Darjeeling), Jan. 1: GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh has warned 'divisive forces' against splitting the hills on communal lines.

Ghisingh, while addressing party supporters at a picnic organised here ' 15 km from Darjeeling town ' to mark the 'victory' of the GNLF, said many organisations working towards protecting the traditions of a particular community were 'overdoing things'.

'It is good to protect the identity of a particular community, but many people are misleading the society and I am taking note of this. Let the elections to the new body be over and I shall take them to task. We have given them too much of free space,' he said.

The GNLF leader also alleged that these community-based organisations were backed by the ISI. 'This is the reason why many of these people, who do not know anything about community tradition, are misleading residents here,' said Ghisingh, who announced that he would address the issue at Tindharia, 20 km from Kurseong, on January 4.

Ghisingh also talked about the tribal issue. He played his cards well to pacify his followers, who have supported him largely because of his promise to include the entire Gorkha community on the Scheduled Tribe list. 'The Sixth Schedule means that the administration of the new body will revolve around tribal lives. A Scheduled Tribe status will, on the other hand, give only certain temporary facilities,' he said. The GNLF chief, however, was quick to add that the government, while agreeing to include the hills under the Sixth Schedule, had acknowledged the fact that the Gorkhas were tribals. In fact, he repeatedly addressed the people as tribals to drive home the point.

'I have recently written to the tribal commission to include all the Gorkhas on the ST list. People, however, must be patient,' he said. The leader today stuck to the middle path on most issues and while on one hand he assured that some more areas would be included within the jurisdiction of the new body, he also reminded his supporters that the fight was not for 'territory but for Sixth Schedule'.

The GNLF leader said the Sixth Schedule had 'its own charms' and maintained that the powers and provisions of the new body would only be clear once the bill pertaining to it is tabled and passed in Parliament. 'The Sixth Schedule will protect the identity of the tribes. We had lost track of our identity and I had to use jhakris (representing one aspect of tribal character), whose contribution cannot be undermined,' he added. The GNLF chief has also asked people to celebrate December 6 as Janjati Bijoy Diwas (Tribal Victory Day).

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