Subhash Ghising, the President and Founder of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), died on 29 January 2015 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi following prolonged illness. He was 79.
He was the person who gave birth to the Gorkhaland movement (GNLF) in the 1980s for a creation of a separate Gorkhaland State by carving out North Bengal’s Darjeeling district. For the first time, he raised the demand for a separate State in Aril 1979 and formed GNLF in 1980 to achieve the objective. The movement reached its peak around 1985–1986.
His demand led to formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), a semi-autonomous governing body for the hills. DGHC was formed after Union, State Government and GNLF signed an agreement on 23 August 1988.
GNLF administered the DGHC with Subhash Ghising as the Chairman of the Council from 1988 to 2004. From 2005 to 2008 he was appointed as the sole caretaker of the DGHC as no election for the DGHC was held since 2004.
Ghising born on 22 June 1936 at Manju Tea Estate, near Mirik in Darjeeling, set up a political outfit named Nilo Jhanda (Blue Flag) to support the cause of people of hill in 1968.
Decline in the popularity of Ghising
His popularity as a leader of Gorkhaland movement declined with the formation of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in October 2007 by his most trusted aide Bimal Gurung.
The fall of Ghising was not a sudden one rather it was the result of growing disenchantment of people of Hills since 1988, when the DGHC was established, until 2005 when DGHC was wounded up with the GNLF demanding a fresh Gorkha Hill Council.
In 2011, he contested the State Assembly Elections from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills but lost all the three seats.
Since then, he was living a life of a recluse in Siliguri in the foothills, occasionally making day trips to the hills.
Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC)
Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) was set up under The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Act, 1988. The Act was notified by the West Bengal government on 15 October 1988.
The Act was enacted pursuant to the Memorandum of Settlement (Darjeeling Accord) signed between Union Home Minister, West Bengal Government and Subash Ghisingh, President of GNLF on 23 August 1988.
The hill areas under DGHC comprised of the three hill Sub-Divisions of Darjeeling District. These are Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong and 13 mouzas of Siliguri Sub-Division of that District.
However, Subash Ghisingh was not satisfied and demanded for Constitutional Status for the DGHC because, according to him, the DGHC could not fulfill the aspirations of the people of Darjeeling. This led to several round of tripartite talks between Union government, GNLF and West Bengal government.
As a result of these meetings, it was agreed in principle to create a self-governing body for the Darjeeling hill areas in West Bengal.
Pursuant to this, Union government presented the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2007 and The Constitution (107th Amendment) Bill, 2007 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 28 February 2008 and presented to the Rajya Sabha.
However, in Rajya Sabha the Bills were not passed and referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by Sushma Swaraj, the current External Affairs Minister. The present status of the bills is lapsed status.
When: 29 January 2015