Siliguri (West Bengal), March 3 (ANI): Activists of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM), spearheading the crusade for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland out of West Bengal, have hailed the Central government's initiative to hold tripartite talks with their leaders to resolve the issue.
This was the reaction of GJMM functionaries in the Darjeeling hills region on Wednesday (March 03) in response to the federal Home (interior) Minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram's assurance of a 4-member political committee to resolve the issue pertaining to Kashmir valley, on Tuesday (March 2).
Four rounds of discussions have been held so far but bureaucrats represented both the Central as well as state government. The GJMM activists had insisted on political talks at the last round of discussions.
"We sought political talks in the fifth tripartite round of discussions. We have received a fax from Mr. P Chidambaram that talks will be held on March 18. So we are very happy. We want that only Gorkhaland is discussed in the fifth round of talks. We hope that the Union Government and State Government are positive about Gorkhaland and we will reach to a permanent solution," said Hemant Gautam, a leader of GJMM for the Terai region of Darjeeling hills.
The committee will hold the first round of political talks with the GJMM activists in New Delhi on March 18.
The West Bengal government has also been asked to nominate two ministers for the talks.
Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, have been demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland to help them protect their culture and heritage.
"It is seen each caste lives in its own place. So we want Gorkhaland because we want to liberation from Bengal. Our only issue is Gorkhaland," said Ganesh Bahadur Chettri, a supporter of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha of the Darjeeling hills.
The demand for Gorkhaland gained momentum after New Delhi announced that it would carve out a new state of Telangana from the Andhra Pradesh state.
At least 1,200 people had died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.
The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of over 80 million. (ANI)