In response to the Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Mann Ghising’s request to call for peace talks, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced that a dialogue will be initiated to discuss the Darjeeling issue on August 29 at Nabanna.
The Home Ministry has been urging the state government to initiate a dialogue with the Gorkhaland statehood movement after they met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on August 12. “Initially, the West Bengal CM was very upset with what appeared to be a bipartite meeting between the leaders of the statehood movement and the Home Minister. But it was clarified that it wasn’t the case,” said an official at state secretariat Nabanna had told the Indian Express.
On August 21, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had requested the Centre and the Bengal government to initiate talks to restore peace in Darjeeling where indefinite strike has entered its 68th day. According to a PTI report, Binay Tamang said, “The responsibility of ensuring peace in the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars is not only that of the people who live here, but also that of the central government and the West Bengal government. We, therefore, request both the governments to initiate talks at the earliest so that peace and normalcy can be restored.”
GJM chief Bimal Gurung was also booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with twin blasts that rocked Darjeeling on August 19. Tamang, however criticised the blasts and said, “We condemn the blasts which took place in Darjeeling town and Kalimpong and we have already demanded a probe by NIA into the blasts on Saturday last.”