Gorkha Janamukti Morcha rejects talks offer, says it's irrelevant

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Siliguri, June 13 : The West Bengal Government's offer for talks on the Darjeeling issue on 18th June was rejected here today by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), saying that the main issue of a separate state was not in the agenda.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in a letter to GJM chief Bimal Gurung, had invited him and his colleagues to discuss measures needed to restore normalcy and speed up development work in the Darjeeling hills.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that the GJM's central committee rejected the offer because the demand for Gorkhaland was a political one and the offer to discuss development of the Darjeeling hills was irrelevant.

He added if the state government was interested in settling the issue, it should take the initiative for tripartite talks with the Centre and GJM representatives with the agenda for talks being solely Gorkhaland.

Meanwhile, the situation in Siliguri, where 48-hour shutdown by protestors had paralyzed normal life, is fast returning to normal with the police, administration and business organisations taking steps to maintain law and order.

However, shops downed their shutters and vehicles went off the roads due to the presence of a large number of security force personnel in Siliguri triggering panic among the people. As a result the town presented a bandh-like look today.

The GJM is on the warpath in support of its demand for a separate state and have unleashed largescale violence in the Darjeeling hills and in different parts of north Bengal. The West Bengal Government has been resisting the demands for a separate State for the Gorkhas.

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