Bengal govt and GJM yet to get any communication from the Centre for meeting on Darjeeling 

Union home minister Rajnath Singh said in his appeal on September 26 that he asked the home secretary to convene the meeting within a fortnight.

kolkata Updated: Oct 12, 2017 11:33 IST
Darjeeling,GJM,Mamata Banerjee
File photo of Union home minister Rajnath Singh (extreme Left) meeting Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia and Gorkha leaders at his New Delhi residence.(HT Photo)

The deadline set by Union home minister Rajnath Singh for the Union home secretary to convene a meeting to discuss “all related issues” pertaining to the agitation in the north Bengal hills is over, but neither the West Bengal government nor Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has received any communication from the Centre for a dialogue.

On September 27, after a record 104 days of total shutdown, the bandh was called off by GJM chief Bimal Gurung only after express assurance by Singh that the meeting will be held within a time frame.

Read: GJM calls off 104-day Darjeeling strike after Rajnath calls meet on Gorkhaland

“In a democracy, dialogue is the only way out to resolve any problem. I have been pained immensely by what has happened in Darjeeling hills. I have asked the home secretary to convene an official level meeting in the home ministry within a fortnight to discuss all related issues,” Singh’s statement read.

Bengal chief secretary Malay De told HT that the state government is yet to receive any communication from the Centre in this regard.

Neither of the two factions of the GJM, too, has got any invitation to attend any meeting in Delhi.

Read: It’s advantage Mamata in the hill politics of Bengal

Though Singh’s statement did not specify whether the meetings will be bipartite (Centre and agitators) or tripartite, GJM has always insisted on a tripartite issue. The Centre, too, earlier washed off its hand from the contentious issue of carving out a separate state from Bengal and told the agitators to negotiate only with the Mamata Banerjee administration.

“But surely an issue that involves the question of a separate state cannot be resolved without involving the state government concerned,” argued a senior member of the Bengal cabinet.

On September 11, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said at a public meeting some people are trying to create tension in the hills again. “But those who are trying to create fresh disturbance will be dealt strongly,” she said.

However, even if the tripartite talks are held, the process may not be smooth. GJM is split between a faction led by Binay Tamang and one led by Bimal Gurung. While Mamata Banerjee is propping up Tamang, she is against the idea of the government holding meeting with Bimal Gurung, who is facing UA(P)A charges and is on the run for several weeks. GJM is the principal political force in the hills.

Mamata Banerjee has already vowed not to allow another partition of Bengal.

First Published: Oct 12, 2017 10:12 IST