GJM welcomes talks with WB govt
Last Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2009, 21:03
Kolkata: The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha on Thursday welcomed the West Bengal government's willingness to discuss the Gorkhaland issue.

"They, in a letter, requested us to withdraw the bandh. They have also said that they are ready to discuss Gorkhaland. We welcome it. It is a positive development," GJM General Secretary, Roshan Giri, said from Darjeeling over phone.

He said that things were moving in the right direction after the state government's response to GJM's terms for holding the third round of tripartite talks.

Giri said that it was also a welcome gesture that the Centre had preponed the tripartite talks to August 11 from August 24.

GJM had been insisting on political level talks on a separate state of Gorkhaland, after two earlier round of the tripartite meetings were held at the secretary level.

"They have also requested us to go for official-level talks at the tripartite discussions before the political-level dialogue," he said.

Asked why they would participate in the talks while going ahead with the indefinite bandh, he said "Talks are a different issue. Talks will solve the crisis."

On Urban Development minister Ashok Bhattacharya's statement that the GJM must withdraw the bandh as talks would be held soon, he said, "Who is Ashok Bhattacharya to say these things? It would be better if the chief minister restrains him from making such utterances."

Asked about the relaxation in blockade on Sikkim highway, Giri said "We have given total relaxation. All vehicles on the National Highway 31A can ply freely."

The indefinite shutdown, however, would continue till its demands -- the transfer of IGP (North Bengal and release of 19 GJM supporters in jail -- were met.

"We demand the release of 19 GJM supporters currently in jail and transfer of North Bengal IGP K L Tamta, ASP (HQ) A Chaturvedi and SDPO Kurseong Partho Pal. Till these demands are met the bandh will continue," Giri said.

He also claimed that the release of GNLF leader Rajen Mukhia had aggravated the situation.

The GJM had allegedly attacked Mukhia's house on July eight following which three of their supporters were arrested.

On July 10 the GJM had allegedly burnt Mukhia's house demanding his arrest. When they took out a procession to Mukhia's house, permission from which had not been taken from the administration, the police batoncharged to disperse them.

Following this, the GJM has been demanding the transfer of three police officials.

Mukhia was, however, arrested later.

The exemption granted to schools in the hills from the bandh was withdrawn by the GJM.

Schools would remain under the purview of the strike at the request of GJM's student and teacher organisations, Giri said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, July 23, 2009, 21:03

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