Free Press Journal

Centre talks could end Darjeeling Hill crisis


New Delhi : Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to the leaders of the Gorkhaland statehood movement in Darjeeling to call off their agitation, and urged the West Bengal government to initiate dialogue with them.

During a two-hour meeting chaired by Singh here this evening, the leaders of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) submitted a memorandum to the Centre detailing their demands. The home minister appealed to the leaders to call off the indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling, which entered 60th day on Sunday. He also requested the leaders to end their hunger strike. The BJP’s Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia also attended the meeting. The Centre’s initiative to intervene in the Darjeeling hills crisis could reverse the current indefinite bandh mood.

Swaraj Thapa, a leader of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is a part of the GMCC, said the home minister had told them that he was mindful of the sufferings of the people in Darjeeling. “We urged him to start the process for (creation of) a separate state. The state is suppressing our democratic movement,” Thapa said. Two top leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been ruling the autonomous hill council, Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri, did not attend today’s meeting. Supplies of food and essentials were drying up due to the strike. Internet services have also been snapped in the hills since June 18.  Police and security forces patrolled the streets in the hills and kept a vigil on the entry and exit routes.

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