Gurung calls on Didi to initiate political dialogue

Gangtok, 24 Aug:

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president, Bimal Gurung has written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and requested her to 'initiate political dialogue' to resolve the crisis in Darjeeling.

The Darjeeling hills have been observing indefinite bandh for over two months now since 12 Jun to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Referring to a negotiation on 18 Jul between the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and the GJM, Mr Gurung reminded that the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) was only to be an interim arrangement as per the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the party has not dropped its demand for Gorkhaland.

Mr Gurung said the creation of autonomous bodies in Darjeeling, first as the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988 and then as the GTA in 2011, has 'failed miserably' and 'never fulfilled the people’s aspirations under the Statesman of West Bengal'.

"The two failed councils in the Darjeeling hills today should pave ways for us to learn from our previous mistakes that experimental models to temporarily curb people’s aspiration for separation from West Bengal has not worked in the past, nor the present," the letter reads.

The GJM president has also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation or judicial inquiry into deaths caused due to police action and compensation to the families of those who have been 'killed in police firing' and the injured.

He has demanded the withdrawal of all the cases against agitators and that those detained during the agitation be released. Another demand is the restoration of internet, cable and local TV services in the region.

The GJM chief however has clarified that ‘no other alternative or bodies will do justice’ for their demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

He has further appealed the West Bengal Government to take ‘appropriate measures’ to address the present crisis on a permanent basis and ensure that normalcy returns to Darjeeling.