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Ready for talks with Mamata Banerjee, says GJM leader Bimal Gurung

The Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha leader said his demand was within the ambit of Indian Constitution and the Gorkhas will remain part of this country till their last breath.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2018 14:17 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha,Bimal Gurung,Mamata Banerjee
Bimal Gurung, head of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), speaks at a news conference on July 4, 2017. (File)

Underground Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung said on Thursday he was not leading any separatist movement as claimed by his rivals and that he was ready for a dialogue with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The leader, with 381 criminal cases filed against him during June-September agitation for statehood, said in an interview in New Delhi that his demand was within the “ambit of Indian Constitution” and the Gorkhas will remain part of this country till their last breath.

“Dialogue is the solution and I am ready to talk to Mamata Banerjee if she approaches the issue with an open mind,” Gurung said.

He added that the fight for the identity of Gorkha people will continue in a peaceful and democratic manner, despite regressive action by the police and local administration.

“I am ready to face a probe by an independent agency,” he said, terming the state police’s action as motivated.

Darjeeling was on the boil for over three months last year with the GJM launching a violent agitation over its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of West Bengal’s northern hill districts.

The state government managed to quell the movement and installed Binay Tamang, once a close aide of Gurung, as chief of the board of administrators for the Hills. While the state government claims to have restored normalcy, it seems only temporary with Gurung’s dominance still continuing.

The GJM, the leading political force in the hills for over a decade, is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 14:16 IST