KOLKATA: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, spearheading a movement for a separate State to be carved out of Darjeeling district and certain areas contiguous to it in north Bengal, has welcomed reports of the Centre deciding to hold political-level talks with it to clear uncertainty in the region .
“We are yet to receive any formal letter regarding the talks, but have learnt from reports that they are scheduled for March 18. We welcome the move,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told The Hindu on telephone from Darjeeling on Wednesday.
Reports in a section of the media said the Centre decided to hold political-level talks with the GJM. Representatives of the West Bengal government would also be present. “We expect an official communication any day now,” Harka Bahadur Chettri, GJM leader and member of its central committee, said.
“We have been demanding political-level talks and reiterated our stand at the fourth tripartite talks held, at the secretary-level, in December 2009. We are glad that the Centre has now acceded to this demand,” he said.
The GJM is also awaiting word on who will represent the Centre and the State before it chooses its representatives for the talks. “A decision will be taken by our central committee once we get official word on the political-level talks from the Centre and who will be representing the Centre and the State government,” Mr. Giri said.
But questions have been raised within the GJM about its participation, in the event of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the West Bengal Chief Minister not attending the talks, a demand made earlier by GJM president Bimal Gurung. After reports of the talks, the GJM called off relay hunger strikes observed by its workers.