West Bengal government welcomes GJM’s hunger strike call-off

February 15th, 2009 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) The West Bengal government Sunday welcomed the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) decision to withdraw the indefinite hunger strike in Darjeeling Hills, and hoped that the hill-based party would now take an active part in a discussion with the state to resolve the Gorkhaland imbroglio.

“It’s a very healthy development that GJM leaders have withdrawn their fast in the Dooars region. We welcome their decision,” state Chief Secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty told reporters in Siliguri.

He said the GJM should talk to the state government in a congenial environment and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had also appealed to the GJM leaders to participate in bilateral talks to resolve the matter.

The GJM, spearheading a movement for a separate Gorkhaland state in north Bengal, withdrew its protest fast in Kalimpong sub-division Friday night following assurances from the state government that its demands would be looked into.

However, Chakraborty said the tripartite talks, likely to be held among the central and state governments and the GJM next month, could be postponed because of the busy schedule of the central government before the coming Lok Sabha poll.

“I don’t know whether the centre would get enough time to manage a date for the tripartite meeting with the GJM leadership as parliament would remain in session till almost March 26-27,” he said.

The GJM, led by Bimal Gurung, has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate Gorkhaland state, besides opposing special status to the hill governing body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

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