| Gurung at the party office in Singmari. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Dec. 2: Members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to go on an indefinite relay hunger strike across the hills from tomorrow to protest against the granting of Sixth Schedule status.
Bimal Gurung, the president of the Morcha, said: “We will protest against the status and the fact that it has been given without seeking public opinion.”
The Morcha is also against Subash Ghisingh signing the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) for the special status as “a government appointed caretaker administrator” and not one who enjoyed popular mandate. The party has already filed a writ petition on this ground in Delhi High Court.
The relay hunger strike will be organised at administrative offices in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik, Sukhiapokhri, Bijanbari and Sukna.
“In Darjeeling, we will stage the protest in front of the district magistrate’s office while at other places it will be before SDO and BDO’s chambers,” said Gurung.
Many members of Darjeeling Bar Association who have floated the Legal Rights Awareness Forum have also decided to the take part in the fast.
Sources in Parliament said the Sixth Schedule amendment bill which has already been introduced in the Lok Sabha is likely to come up for discussion on Tuesday.
In an attack on Ghisingh, Gurung, who fell out with the GNLF over the Sixth Schedule almost two months ago, said: “He should have asked for tribal status before demanding Sixth Schedule status. This shows that he is not concerned enough for the people.”
The Morcha president said the hunger strike was the beginning of an agitation, the rest of which would be announced later. In fact, the party has decided to hold a public meeting on December 4 at Chowk Bazar.
Binay Tamang, press and publicity secretary of the Morcha, alleged that Ghisingh is distributing contracts among cadres without floating tenders or issuing proper work orders. “About Rs 40 lakh has been sanctioned for a project in the Tindharia-Gayabari constituency. A repair of the stretch below Rock Garden too has been allotted to somebody,” said Tamang, adding that similar projects were also being given to almost all GNLF leaders (former councillors).
D.T. Tamlong, chief principal secretary, DGHC, said: “I have not received any files on such projects from the engineers. I will be able to comment only after I receive the files.”