Gorkhaland: Govt-GJM team to hold talks in Kolkata

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Siliguri/Darjeeling, Jun 24: A high-level meeting, attended by Central as well as West Bengal government officials, will be held on Tuesday, June 24 at Siliguri to take stock of the situation in the Hills, even as a four-member GJM delegation left for Kolkata to hold talks with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

North Bengal Inspector General of Police K L Tamta said the meeting, to be held at Sukna under Siliguri district, will be attended by Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, state Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, Director General of Police Anubhushan Bhora, Darjeeling District Magistrate Rajesh Pandey, Superintendent of Police Rahul Srivastava as well as senior Army officials.

Meanwhile, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) publicity secretary Benoy Tamang said a four-member GJM delegation, led by its assistant general secretary Raju Pradhan, left for Kolkata to have a direct talk with the Chief Minister on June 25 at Writers' Buildings.

Mr Pradhan said the Kolkata delegation would request the Chief Minister to withdraw the CRPF deployed in Siliguri and Dooars and lift prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in those areas.

He said the prohibitory orders had been preventing the GJM supporters from going on hunger strike there.

The GJM would also demand for investigation and arrest of those involved in attacking the pro-Gorkhaland supporters in the plains.

Mr Pradhan said the Chief Minister would be asked to take up the matter with the Centre for convening a tripartite meeting on Darjeeling. The state government had yesterday declared that the Chief Minister was keen on holding talks with the GJM to stabilise the situation in Darjeeling.

''The Chief Minister is keen to talk to them. If the GJM wants, negotiation can be arranged the next day the team arrives,'' state Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters.

Another GJM delegation, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, left for New Delhi yesterday for holding talks with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Opposition leaders.

Mr Giri said they would call on Mr Patil and apprise him of the situation in Darjeeling.

The delegation would also meet Opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani and other Central leaders to press them for calling a tripartite meeting involving the Centre, the state government and hill parties, Mr Giri said prior to his departure for Delhi.

''Our prime demand is Gorkhaland state,'' Mr Giri said as the GJM relaxed the strike for 60 hours till 0600 hrs on Wednesday to allow trucks to carry essentials to replenish stocks in the hills as well as Sikkim.

Meanwhile, trucks with essentials continued their uphill drive making a beeline both on National Highway 31A linking Sikkim and 55 towards Darjeeling.

UNI

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