Buddhadeb offers talks on Darjeeling issue

May 4th, 2008 - 9:34 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 4 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday said that he was open to hold talks with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists who had gone on indefinite fast to protest denial of permission to hold public meetings in Siliguri town in Darjeeling district. GJM supporters ended their fast Saturday evening in Darjeeling.

“I still don’t know what the GJM actually wants from the state and the central governments. They went on a fast-unto-death programme, demanding permission to hold public meetings at Siliguri town in Darjeeling. But why they want to hold these public meetings is still not clear to me,” Bhattacharjee told reporters Sunday here.

“The relationship and communication between the hills and plains have always been peaceful and constructive. I firmly believe that overall development of West Bengal is not possible without peace and harmony among the residents.” the chief minister said.

“The GJM supporters have never approached us with their problems or submitted any written complaint,” he sdded.

“If the GJM feels that the interests of the hill people are not being taken care of, they will have to discuss and sort out the problems with the government. They can go to Delhi or come to me. I am always open to discussions with them. This is the most logical way to come to a solution on this issue,” he said.

The morcha activists decided to go on an indefnite fast from May 1 in Darjeeling for being disallowed from holding any political meetings in Siliguri.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement for a separate state for Darjeeling Hills and has been opposed to the present Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council status under the Sixth Schedule of the contitution.

The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body. But, Gurung’s group is demanding full statehood.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |