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Jan Andolan Party to skip Monday’s bipartite meeting, questions state govt’s motive

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Binay Tamang are taking decisions that are foisted on other parties in the bipartite meetings, alleged Jan Andolan Party chief Harka Bahadur Chettri.

kolkata Updated: Oct 16, 2017 10:18 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
Darjeeling,Mamata Banerjee,Jan Andolan Party
Mamata Banerjee’s announcement of setting up a board of administrators to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration with Binay Tamang at the helm came for sharp criticism from the Jan Andolan Party chief.(HT Photo)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s move to rope in political parties of the hills to restore peace and normalcy received a setback on Sunday when Jan Andolan Party (JAP) announced its decision not to attend the third bilateral meeting on Monday.

Harka Bahadur Chettri, president of JAP, once considered close to the state government said, “The bilateral meeting has become redundant as the hill parties are being used only to agree to the decisions already taken in the meeting between the chief minister and the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).”

Read: Govt orders withdrawal of 1,000 paramilitary personnel from Darjeeling

Chettri told HT Monday’s bilateral meeting is going to be a futile exercise as the actual decisions are being taken outside the all-party meetings.

Other than the GJM faction headed by Tamang, Gorkha National Liberation Front and All India Gorkha League will attend the meeting in the state secretariat on Monday.

The JAP leader alleged the state government did not adhere to the principles of all-party meetings. It is taking decisions only by taking into confidence a faction of the GJM. On September 20, the state government announced its decision to set up a board of administrators in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) with Tamang at the helm though no discussion was held on the crucial matter in the two bipartite meetings held so far.

Read: 100 days of Darjeeling shutdown: A tale of survival and ordeal

On October 13, Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with Tamang in Kolkata. “On Monday the decisions taken on October 13 meeting would simply be imposed,” remarked Chettri. He alleged that the state government has not taken any step to ask the Centre to convene a tripartite meeting to discuss the demand for separate state of Gorkhaland.

The decision of JAP came in the wake of a gun battle between the police and Bimal Gurung’s supporters on Friday morning. Rumors are also doing the rounds that a few bodies are lying near Lapchey Bustee area, 20 km from Darjeeling, where the exchange of fire took place. A police sub inspector Amitava Malik was gunned down at the spot and police claimed to have seized a large quantity of arms and ammunitions including nine AK 47 rifles and about 2,000 rounds of ammunition from a spot inside a forest.

On Saturday night four houses at Patleybas, on the outskirts of Darjeeling town, were gutted in a fire.

The houses were located near to the GJM head office and the house of Bimal Gurung. Police claimed the fire was the handiwork of the GJM to destroy the evidences against Gurung and other senior GJM leaders, who are absconding. Locals, however, did not subscribe to this view.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 10:18 IST