Gorkhaland agitators now pin hopes on West Bengal government
Darjeeling, August 21, 2017: With the Union Government failing to provide a favourable window to the agitators, the pro Gorkhaland forces are now eager to talk to the West Bengal Government in an effort to resolve the ongoing Hill impasse. The indefinite bandh hit the 68 day mark on Monday with the deadlock continuing.
Pro -Gorkhaland outfits have launched a renewed Gorkhaland agitation since June. They had closed the doors to the State Government declaring that they would only sit in talks with the Union Government that too on a one point agenda of Gorkhaland.
With situation spiraling out of control and the Union Government making it clear that the agitators will have to sit with the Government of West Bengal to find a solution to this crisis, in a mellowed stance the outfits are now eager to come to the table.
"Situation is worsening by the day. It is time that the State Government creates a conducive environment for talks and sends us official invites" stated Kalyan Dewan, Convenor Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC- a conglomeration of 13 pro Gorkhaland outfits.)
The twin blasts in Darjeeling and Kalimpong on Saturday has further spurred the agitators to demand for immediate talks. Though there was no casualty in Darjeeling, a civic police died in the blast in Kalimpong along with a Home Guard who was grievously injured.
In a press release GJM Assistant Secretary Binay Tamang on Monday stated "The responsibility of ensuring peace in Darjeeling Hills, Terai and Dooars is not only the responsibility of the residents but also that of the Central Government and the Government of West Bengal.
We therefore request the Governments to initiate talks at the earliest so that peace and normalcy can be restored in our region at the earliest."
The release comes on the heels of a poster appearing in Darjeeling town on Sunday demanding that the bandh be lifted immediately . The poster signed "Janta" (public) claimed that it was only the Hill populace suffering in the bandh, whereas a tacit understanding exists between the Government and the agitators.
Sarita Rai, GJM MLA from Kalimpong has echoed similar sentiments. Talking to media persons following the Kalimpong blast, Rai stated "A dialogue should be opened up immediately. There are anti social elements indulging in heinous activities. All this will stop with the end of the impasse. The State should immediately invite us for talks."
However it is the West Bengal Government, with a clear political upper hand, is maintaining a calculated silence.
"The GJM should write to the State Government requesting for talks. Earlier the West Bengal Government had invited GJM and other Hill outfits to sit in a meeting at Siliguri but no party turned up. The West Bengal Chief Minister has made it clear that the GJM has to lift the bandh and restore normalcy. Then only talks will be held" stated Rabindra Nath Ghosh , MIC North Bengal Development Department.