The meeting between state government and Darjeeling hill parties over resolving the present crisis there was fruitful as both sides agreed to restore peace and normalcy in the hills through “dialogues”. Although the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha raised the issue of Gorkhaland, the state government refused to hold discussion on it. Speaking to reporters, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the meeting was “positive and constructive” and the process of holding “dialogues” with the hill parties has began.
“The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. It was positive. We have all agreed to start a dialogue among all hill parties and the state government. The prime agenda right now is to restore peace and normalcy in the hills in a bid to resolve the issue and we all have agreed to restore peace and normalcy in the hills,” Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister added that the state government has requested all hill parties to withdraw its indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills which has entered its 78th day. “They have raised the Gorkhaland issue but we did not want to hold discussion on it. It is their democrative right to raise their long-standing demand. It is their prerogative. But no discussion was held over it. We have requested them to withdraw the indefinite shutdown as it has affected the livelihood of the people of the hills,” she said. Hill parties Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Gorkga National Liberation Front (GNLF), Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and Trinamool Congress participated in the meeting which was held at state secretariat (Nabanna).
“Dialogue is a continuous process and it will continue. The interaction will continue with them. Dialogue has started today to end the deadlock. We will again meet at Uttar Kanya in North Bengal on September 12 for further discussion,” Banerjee said. Chief coordinator of the central committee of GJM, Binay Tmanag too echoed Banerjee and said peace and normalcy should restore in Darjeeling hills. “The GJM believes that to restore normalcy and to resolve the political deadlock nothing is more welcome than a political dialogue. The GJM takes this as an initial step to a journey for the fulfilment of our dreams and also show our commitment to peace, tranquility,democratic values and the Constitution,” Tamang said.
He also condemned the recent bomb blasts in Darjeeling hills and demanded an NIA probe into it. “The GJM strongly condemned the recent bomb blasts as these are detrimental to any move forward. Strong action must be taken by the Administration and we demand that the NIA thoroughly prove into the matter,” he said.
However, the GJM raised the issue of Gorkhaland in the meeting and requested Banerjee to look into it. “The GJM strongly appealed to the Chief Minister to rationally look into our century old demand of Gorkhaland and move forward with necessary dialogues where all related issues can be discussed till a consensus to an amicable and plausible permanent solution is reached,” Tamang said. “GJM strongly expressed that the way forward to solve the Hill crisis is to immediately hold Bipartite and Tripartite talks on the century old demand of Gorkhaland. The GJM demanded that the West Bengal Government would have to initiate this process honouring the federal structure of the country,” he added.