The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ABGL’s black protest plan for Buddha

Darjeeling, Nov. 19: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit is expected to kick up a storm with the ABGL planning to come out on to the streets with black flags to protest against the chief minister’s three-day stay here.

Not only that, party president Madan Tamang has threatened with a shutdown during the period if “anti-Gorkha people disrupted the Darjeeling district bandh on November 22”, a day before Bhattacharjee’s arrival.

The bandh has been called to protest against the “imposition” of the Sixth Schedule status on the hills. Recently, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha — formed by expelled GNLF leader Bimal Gurung— has been trying to garner support against the Sixth Schedule.

Tamang’s threat follows the GNLF announcement that it would oppose the shutdown tooth and nail.

The ABGL president added that the bandh would be extended to four days if a single member of the party got a “scratch” or just one shop was forcibly opened.

He said ABGL supporters would follow Bhattacharjee, who will be here to attend the district conference of the CPM, with black flags across Darjeeling.

“Bhattacharjee is the chief architect of this special status that threatens to divide our community. It is the duty of every citizen to protest against it. We appeal to all the people in the hills to put up black flags on rooftops,” said Tamang, whose party is a member of the PDF, an anti-Subash Ghisingh coalition.

Deepak Gurung, the president of the GNLF Darjeeling Branch Committee, however, made it clear that his party would oppose the bandh. “Everything will remain open on that day,” he said.

In another significant development, Kishore Gurung — a GNLF strongman — was appointed the convener of the party’s unit in the Singmari-Tukvar area, considered a forte of the Morcha. The appointment is expected to come as a blow to the new party.

“During the agitation, I was recognised as a militant leader but after having contributed my share, I decided to settle down with my family. I was never really after chair or power,” said Kishore, who had contested from Singmari-Tukvar as an independent candidate against Bimal Gurung in the 1999 DGHC elections and lost by a narrow margin.

Kishore, who has also been given additional charge as chief convener of the GNLF’s youth wing in Darjeeling, added that even while “remaining aloof politically”, a lot of youths were always in touch with him.

“I used to tell the GNLF leaders that the youths were getting disillusioned. This is why our party has suffered setbacks in certain areas. However, now that I have been entrusted with a responsibility…,” he trailed off.

It was learnt that Kishore was asked to take charge of the two posts by Ghisingh three days ago.

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