AIGL calls Darjeeling bandh to protest imposition of 6th Schedule

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Darjeeling, Nov 19 (UNI) The All India Gorkha League(AIGL) has called for a one-day Darjeeling bandh on November 22 to protest the imposition of the Sixth Schedule in Darjeeling.

Speaking to newspersons here, AIGL president Madan Tamang alleged that a conspiracy had been hatched to destroy the Gorkha unity by introducing the Bill in the current session of the Parliament.

The government was making a haste to pass the bill at any cost, he claimed and added, on failing to do so, they would enforce Article 244 to grant autonomy to the Darjeeling Hills.

He also said all political parties, except CPI(M) and GNLF, had rejected the Sixth Schedule.

He informed that he was in contact with the leaders of various political parties in Siliguri and the Dooars to garner support for the bandh call given by the AIGL.

With the bandh, the party would organise a series of agitational programmes to prevent the introduction of the Bill.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharjee described the bandh call as ''unfortunate'' and urged the AIGL to withdraw the bandh in view of CPI(M)'s Darjeeling District Committee Conference to be held in Darjeeling from November 23-25.

Reacting to the minister's statement, Mr Tamang said the AIGL was the ''only democratic party'' and accordingly, they had changed the date of the bandh from November 23 to November 22.

He also said his party would hold a public meeting in Darjeeling on November 21 and threatened a series of agitational programmes from November 21.

Former MP and secretary of the CPI(M) Darjeeling District Committee S P Lepcha said his party would hold the conference after 40 years in Darjeeling from November 23.

The party's central leader Mohammad Amin was expected to inaugurate the conference that was to be attended by 325 delegates from the district.

The opening session of the conference, to be held at the Chawrasta in Darjeeling, was expected to be addressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Mr Lepcha said the main agendas of the conference were adoption of the Sixth Schedule Bill, restoring peace and democracy, congenial relations among the people, solving the problems of the tea gardens and cincona plantaions, creation of employment generating schemes and disaster management.

Mr Ashok Bhattacharjee appealed to the opposition parties leaders to meet the Chief Minister to discuss various political, economical and other developmental programmes, including matters relating to the Sixth Schedule.

UNI

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