Darjeeling unrest: Bengal govt to explore options for tripartite meeting
All the leaders of the hill parties demanded in Tuesday’s meeting that there should be a tripartite meeting to end the impasse in Darjeeling.kolkata Updated: Sep 13, 2017 11:14 IST
The possibility of a tripartite meeting to end the impasse in north Bengal hills that crossed the three-month mark on Tuesday seemed to brighten with chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying that the government will explore options of such a meet. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung reiterated that the indefinite shutdown would end only after the date for a tripartite meeting is fixed.
“The bandh will be withdrawn only after the date for a tripartite meeting is fixed,” Gurung said in an audio clip circulated from an undisclosed location.
The chief minister indicated flexibility in exploring options of a tripartite meeting after representatives of all the parties who attended the bipartite meeting on Tuesday in Siliguri demanded a meeting with the Centre to resolve the impasse.
She said that the decision about demand for tripartite talk between the parties demanding separate state of Gorkhaland, state government and the Centre would be taken in the third bilateral meeting to be held at the state secretariat on October 16. The first meeting was held on August 29.
On September 8, a team of leaders of the hill parties met Union home minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and urged him to call a tripartite meeting for the creation of Gorkhaland. In a press statement, GJM said after that meeting that meetings with the state government were pointless since the chief minister has already made ti clear that discussing a new state was beyond the jurisdiction of her government.
On Tuesday Mamata Banerjee appealed to the parties to restore normalcy in the hills.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by five hill parties including GJM ( Binay Tamang faction), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Jan Andolan Party (JAP), All India Gorkha League (AIGL) and Trinamool Congress. Two GJM MLAs from Darjeeling and Kalimpong also attended the meeting.
Addressing a press conference after a one-and-half-hour-long meeting, the chief minister remarked that she wants a permanent solution to the hill crisis. “There was provision for tripartite talk in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Act. But as the GTA is now run by administrator, we have to look into the legalities before deciding on it,” she said.
The GTA, formed through a tripartite agreement on July 18, 2011, has already been rejected by all hill political parties. They want a separate state of Gorkhaland as permanent solution. But Mamata Banerjee has vowed to prevent another partition of Bengal.
Though Binay Tamang, the expelled assistant general secretary and chief coordinator of GJM, attended the meeting, the official faction of the Morcha led by Bimal Gurung was not invited in Tuesday’s meeting.
On Tuesday evening, Gurung in an audio message said, “I did not call the indefinite bandh. Binay Tamang called indefinite bandh after my home and office were raided by police on June 15. I was not in support of the shutdown. But since it has already been called, it should continue.”
Gurung and several senior GJM leaders have been charged with sections of UA(P)A and are in hiding.