Gorkha National Liberation Front founder Subhash Ghisingh, who spearheaded the Gorkhaland movement in the 1980s, died here today at the age of 78.
He was suffering from liver ailments and cancer and breathed his last at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
"He was admitted to the hospital five days ago and was diagnosed for cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. He died around 10:30 AM," a hospital source said.
Ghisingh had founded GNLF in 1980 and was the chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in West Bengal from 1988 to 2008.
He had led the Gorkhaland movement to demand for a separate state for ethnic Gorkha people living in Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
The GNLF led the movement, which disrupted the district with massive violence between 1986 and 1988.
Following series of talks with Centre and the West Bengal government, the issue was resolved in 1988 with the setting up of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a semi-autonomous body. He became its chairman after winning the first council elections.
Ghisingh was born on June 22, 1936 at Manju Tea Estate in Darjeeling.
He joined the Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army as a soldier in 1954 but quit in 1960.
In 1968, Ghisingh formed a political organisation called Nilo Jhanda to protect rights of the ethnic Gorkhas.
In April 1979, he raised the demand for a separate state for the Nepali-speaking people of the Darjeeling hills.
In 2011, his party contested the state assembly elections from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills but lost all the three seats.
Since then, he was in some sort of political hibernation.