Kolkata, Aug 24 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed senior Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang would attend the August 29 all party meeting convened by the state government on the Darjeeling issue. However, he rebutted the Chief Minister, saying no such decision has been taken by the party.
Talking to media persons at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee said Tamang would represent the GJM at the meeting, called to address the issues in northern West Bengal hills.
But contacted by IANS, Tamang said his party was yet to receive the official letter from the state government about the meeting.
“We have not taken any decision as no state government letter regarding the all party meet has reached us yet. We heard that the letter has come to the District Magistrate’s office in Darjeeling. So we have not taken any decision that I’ll be attending the meeting,” GJM Joint Secretary Tamang told IANS over phone.
“We will conduct a meeting in the next two days after we receive the letter and take a decision on whether the party would attend the meeting called by the Bengal government,” he said.
Earlier in the day, GJM chief Bimal Gurung wrote to Banerjee requesting her to “initiate a political dialogue” to resolve the crisis in Darjeeling.
He also appealed to the state government to “take appropriate measures” to restore normalcy in the region, which has been on the boil for over two months over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
But Banerjee denied receiving any such letter from Gurung.
In the letter, a copy of which is with IANS, Gurung reminded her that the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) was meant only to be an interim arrangement as per the tripartite MoU and the party has not dropped its demand for Gorkhaland.
“…We request your honour to initiate political dialogue on the long pending demand of the Gorkhas, which is Gorkhaland, to help resolve the present crisis of Darjeeling,” he said.
He also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation or judicial inquiry into deaths caused due to police action, withdrawal of all the cases against agitators and that those detained during the agitation be released.
He also demanded compensation for the kin of those who have been “killed in police firing” and the injured.
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”.
“The two failed councils in the Darjeeling hills today should pave way 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,” he said.
Normal life has been paralysed in the hills covering large areas in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts with an indefinite shutdown called by the GJM continuing since June 12 on the statehood demand.
Banerjee on Tuesday announced that the state government would hold talks with “all major political parties” on August 29.
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