Darjeeling unrest: Initiate talks to end logjam, says Rajnath Singh to Mamata Banerjee

"Violence can never be a solution to any problem. In a democracy, solutions are always found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said. He also appealed to the people of Darjeeling to display sensitivity, and also keep in mind their civic responsibilities.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:August 13, 2017 10:33 pm
rajnath singh, darjeeling unrest, darjeeling violence, gjm agitation, gorkhaland protests, mamata banerjee, Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee, Bimal Gurung Home Minister Rajnath Singh (File)

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to initiate dialogue with all stakeholders to end the over two-month-long statehood agitation in Darjeeling, and to restore civil supplies and Internet facilities in the hills.

According to a home ministry statement, Singh also requested the leaders of the Gorkhaland statehood movement to call off the indefinite strike, which entered its 60th day on Sunday, and end their hunger strike.

During a two-hour meeting chaired by Singh here this evening, the leaders of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), an umbrella organisation of all the hill parties, submitted a memorandum to the Centre detailing their demands. The GMCC, led by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), said it had urged the home minister to start the process for creating a separate state.

“I also appeal to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to initiate a dialogue with the GJM and other stakeholders of Darjeeling, who are on a strike for last 60 days. In the meantime, the state government should restore all civil supplies and also restore Internet services, Cable TV and local channels,” the statement said.

The home minister said he was concerned about the developments in Darjeeling and the loss of valuable lives and sufferings of the people in the last two months. “Violence can never be a solution to any problem. In a democracy, solutions are always found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit,” he said.

Singh said every one is aware of the strategic importance of the locality and the challenges the region face. He said a solution should be found, “keeping in mind the national interest, as well as in the interest of our Gorkha brothers and sisters, who are brave and large hearted people and have contributed immensely to nation building”. Singh appealed to the people of Darjeeling to display sensitivity, and also keep in mind their civic responsibilities. “No grievances and problems can be resolved without any dialogue,” he said.

The BJP’s Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia also attended the meeting. Swaraj Thapa, a leader of the GJM, said the home minister had told them that he was mindful of the sufferings of the people in Darjeeling. “We urged him to start the process for (creation of) a separate state. The state is suppressing our democratic movement,” Thapa said. “We will soon decide the future course of action,” he said.

The GMCC had sought the central government’s intervention to break the logjam. Two top leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been ruling the autonomous hill council, Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri, did not attend Sunday’s meeting.

Supplies of food and essentials were drying up due to the strike. Internet services have also been snapped in the hills since June 18, when the agitation started in protest against the West Bengal government’s decision to introduce Bengali as one of the subjects in schools in the hills. Except medicine shops, all business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed in the hills. Police and security forces patrolled the streets in the hills and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes.

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  1. M
    Mehemud Alam
    Aug 14, 2017 at 1:14 am
    Rajnath Singh is the most incapable minister of modi government. He is being the home minister whose performance is negative. violence in J K attracted UN attention, Doclum crisis created where India is in Blackfoot and on the verge of war. Naxalites are dominating and so many central force martyred, now he is trying to give opportunity to Chinese people by politically be part with GNLF. He has no concern of Indian security.
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    1. H
      Himan Shoe
      Aug 13, 2017 at 11:22 pm
      STATE TERRORIST Rajnath Singh is the first person to be arrested for initiating the Ghorka agitation. Every thing was planned at his office. IB was involved to create trouble. It isn't a repe ion of what happened to break Andra Pradesh. GJM leader is nothing but a clone of K. Chandrashekar Rao, a Brahmin. This Gorkha agitation will go on and on with full support of STATE TERRORIST Rajnath Singh and IB until Mamta is removed through the PUPPET PRESIDENT's RULE and then she agrees to form a govt with BJP. Only purpose is to capture power in WB. Though that will end in break up of HINDIa! Which is of course good!
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      1. R
        Ramesh Nittoor
        Aug 13, 2017 at 11:09 pm
        The State party of BJP has opposed formation of Gor nd with an eye to Bengal state election. Given this fact, it is not fair to expect TMC not to take electoral considerations in their stance on this matter. Hon Home Minister correctly avers that the creation of a new political capital in Darjeeling is of strategic significance. The political direction which listens to the ground beats in Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and Tibet is critical for Indian security. This sensibility not been accorded requisite depth of scholarship in Kolkata, for profound Bengali sensibility naturally occupies all of capital Kolkata's attention. If Hon Home Minister is to be credible, BJP has to make a political call on Gor nd by prioritizing national strategic interest. It is then likely that TMC, Congress and Left Front shall not make it a Bengali pride issue and parti te in building consensus. This commitment to taken on potent China threat, via healthy politics of development is feasible.
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        1. R
          Ramesh Nittoor
          Aug 13, 2017 at 11:22 pm
          Late Ramakrishna Hegde had written a beautiful piece on why the liberated Goa should not be made part of Karnataka, instead be made a UT. Such enlightened political decision making is the need here, if bitterness is to be avoided, and efforts are to be directed in a proper emotional climate for enhancing Indian strategic capabilities. The process of formation of politcal capital has a critical bearing on the quality of outcome.
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          1. R
            Ramesh Nittoor
            Aug 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm
            Democracy gets strengthened when it creates cons uency for defending the way of life of the people. These linguistic-cultural iden ies are centuries old, and are critical component of Indian national iden y. It may be debatable whether these iden y deserve a politcal capital, and whether this heritage is substantive and profound enough to provide independent political direction to India in diplomacy and strategic matter as Bengal and other major states do. On such inference making via an intellectual exercise that a policy decision can be taken, and this process has to be open ended and nothing has been concluded yet. Taking this capital formation effort from agitation mode to an administrative policy making intellectual exercise what Hon Home Minister has requested. Hopefully, the agitators trust the integrity of the process to put their best foot forward for this intellectually challenging policy making exercise.