GJM delegation to meet Union Home Minister on Sunday

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Fifty-eight days into an ongoing and indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills, a team of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha [GJM], the party that is spearheading Gorkha homeland movement in West Bengal, is expected to meet the Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday evening.

The GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told The Hindu that the meeting between Home Minister and representatives of GJM will be held at 4.30 pm in New Delhi.

A press statement issued on Saturday by GJM president Bimal Gurung expressed hope that “hill parties leading the movement will attend the meeting and help find a possible road map for Gorkhaland statehood.”

In the statement Mr Gurung confirmed that Mr Singh requested them “to join for talks” on Sunday.

However, it is yet to be clear whether the talks would facilitate lifting of the strike in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district which is continuing since June 15.

Normal living has been severely affected owing to the two month long strike which was initiated demanding a separate State for the Gorkhas.

While no representatives of the West Bengal government is likely to be present in Sunday's meeting, it is interesting to note that the development comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's recent visit to Delhi and her appeal to GJM to come forward for talks.

Mr Giri is also camped in Delhi for several weeks and have been trying to initiate talks with all sides, sources told The Hindu. The key challenge for the leadership, after the meeting, would be to decide on whether to continue with the ongoing agitation or to call it off.

While people are increasingly turning restless due to a near 60-day bandh, the demand for a separate State is unanimous in the hills.

The GJM has extended invite to the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), a body comprising representatives of 15 political parties and social organizations in the hills to join the meeting, but it is not clear that whether representatives of GMCC will be meeting the Home Minister along with GJM representatives.

"It is a welcome development as the Centre has finally broken its silence on the situation in Darjeeling and is willing to engage with the stakeholders of the hills. However, it is just a meeting and should not be misunderstood as any kind of formal talks," a GMCC member said.

During the past two months Darjeeling hills also saw one of the most violent agitation over the demand of separate State of Gorkhaland with at least nine Gorkhaland supporters being killed and over 100 public properties being set on fire.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 12:04:15 AM |

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