1 Mar 2008, 0144 hrs IST,TNN
DARJEELING: Gorkha National Liberation Front supremo Subhas Ghising has finally agreed to quit as caretaker administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
The council erupted with joy as soon as news about Ghising agreeing to put in his papers by March 10 reached.
“We’ve suspended our indefinite strike and fast-unto-death till March 11,” said Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri over the phone from Kolkata on Friday.
Giri was part of a GJM delegation, led by party chief Bimal Gurung, which held talks with West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Wednesday and Friday.
Two demands of GJM were removal of Ghising from DGHC and withdrawal of the proposal to include the Hills in the Sixth Schedule. Ghisingh has been heading DGHC since 1988.
“At Friday’s meeting, the chief minister told us that Ghising had asked for 10 days to quit his post. The Sixth Schedule Bill is now in the dustbin. The state government won’t do anything about it without talking to us,” Giri said.
At a press conference in Kolkata, Bimal Gurung said, “The 200-odd agitators decided to call off their hunger strike on Friday following an appeal by the CM. Since he is a respected politician, we have decided to give him 10 days’ time to ensure that Ghising resigns.”
Earlier in the day, the CM urged all concerned to call off their agitaiton and hunger strike and help restore normalcy in the Hills.
In Darjeeling, thousands of GJM supporters celebrated Ghising’s decision by organizing a “funeral of GNLF leaders”. The GJM brought out “victory” processions in the Hills and the Terai, including Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik. In Kurseong, people took to the streets, bursting crackers.
“Our leader has taken the right decision. We’re always ready to leave DGHC, which is as good as dead,” said Dipak Gurung, GNLF’s Darjeeling unit chief.