In response to a request by Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) to open dialogue with them to restore normalcy in Darjeeling hills, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has convened a meeting with hills parties on August 29. The meeting will be held at state secretariat (Nabanna) at 4 pm on the said date.
“GNLF Central Committee President Mann Ghising wrote a letter to me last night requesting us to open a dialogue to bring back normalcy and restore peace in Darjeeling hills. It is a constructive and positive signal. In response to this request, we have decided to hold a meeting with them. As GNLF, which has been associated with the separate statehood movement in Darjeeling since the beginning, has come forward and requested us to hold talks; we are convening a meeting on August 29 at 4 pm with all political parties,” Banerjee said at Nabanna on Tuesday.
GNLF President Mann Ghising wrote a letter to the CM on “the present crisis of the hill areas in Darjeeling” and requested her to open a dialogue immediately to restore normalcy. “My party is deeply concerned about the day by day deteriorating condition of the people of the hill areas of Darjeeling and if the situation is allowed to be continued, then the system may collapse. I also apprehend that the situation of the hill areas of Darjeeling will go beyond control if present crisis is left unattended. I, therefore, humbly request you to kindly open a dialogue immediately to bring back normalcy and restore peace and tranquilly in the hill areas of Darjeeling,” read the copy of the letter. GNLF has been associated with the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling hills.
Asked to comment whether Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which has been spearheading the separate statehood movement in Darjeeling hills, will be asked to attend the meeting, the Chief Minister said all “like-minded parties like GNLF” were welcomed to hold talks with the state government.
“I had held a meeting with chairmen of all development boards in Darjeeling and later state Chief Secretary held a meeting with political parties in Siliguri. I have repeatedly said that the state government is ready to hold talks with those who want to restore normalcy and peace in Darjeeling hills. Like-minded parties like GNLF are welcome to attend the meeting and I hope that those who want peace to prevail in the hills will attend the meeting,” Banerjee said.