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GJM buckles,agrees to sit on table with CM

Peace prospects got a fillip in North Bengal on Tuesday when after days of unremitting violence in Dooars,the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha agreed to send a seven-member delegation to meet Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | January 21, 2009 3:00:49 am

Peace gets a chance after days of violence between GJM supporters,tribals

Peace prospects got a fillip in North Bengal on Tuesday when after days of unremitting violence in Dooars,the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) agreed to send a seven-member delegation to meet Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The chief minister had earlier extended an offer of talks with GJM leaders,but the outfit refused saying it was at the receiving end of the violence unleashed by “CPM-backed” tribals.

Meanwhile,the police thwarted a GJM bid to hold a pro-Gorkhaland rally in the strife-hit Dooars despite prohibitory orders. On January 16,a similar rally by the GJM had sparked violence between the outfit supporters and tribals,which spiralled further engulfing the entire region.

Special IG (Jalpaiguri Range) Zulfiqar Hasan said the GJM rally was stopped near Nean Glass tea estate. “The prohibitory orders are in place,and would be relaxed depending on the improvement in the situation,” he said.

On Tuesday,the GJM accepted the chief minister’s invitation for talks and its general secretary Roshan Giri said he would be leading the delegation on Wednesday. Morcha president Bimal Gurung was in favour of holding talks directly with Bhattacharjee in Darjeeling district,he added. “We will highlight the atrocities being perpetrated by CPM-backed Adivasi Vikas Parishad on our supporters. Our president wanted us to go and directly talk to the CM. The GJM has so far been speaking to the state home secretary and the Jalpaiguri divisional commissioner. But now,we will be talking to the CM to put forth our views,” Giri said.

Among the issues the Morcha wishes to bring up are the GJM’s right to organise rallies at all places in the plains such as the Dooars,Terai and Siliguri. “We will also demand compensation for supporters whose houses were ransacked and torched. The ABAVP supporters are ransacking the houses of local Nepalis,but the district administration is a mute spectator,” Giri said.

GJM president Bimal Gurung said in Kalimpong he would not go to Kolkata for the talks. He said the GJM would take out processions till the administration grants permission to hold a public meeting in Malbazar.

Meanwhile,during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday,the chief minister said the Morcha should abide by the decision taken at the last month’s tripartite meeting in Delhi that there would be no demonstration in the Hills while the talks are in progress.

State Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti said the seven-member GJM team would meet Bhattacharjee without any preconditions. “The meeting is expected to take place at 6 pm. The intention to meet was conveyed to the Darjeeling district magistrate by Gurung. At the moment,our main objective is to restore communal harmony in the region,” Chakrabarti said.

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