Tripartite talks on Gorkhaland held

Vinay Kumar




Gorkhas say their demand is neither anti-national nor anti-Indian




Gorkhaland essential for preserving ethnicity, identity, culture: GJMM

Tea, tourism and timber will be Gorkhaland’s main economic resources



NEW DELHI: Members of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) which is spearheading the agitation for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling hills reiterated that their demand was neither anti-national nor anti-Indian.

Expressing their views at the tripartite talks with the Centre and the West Bengal government here on Monday, the GJMM members argued in favour of carving out Gorkhaland.

Main issues



This had become essential for preserving their ethnicity, identity, culture, customs and language.

They said that identity and development of the region were two main issues and aspirations of the people could not be fulfilled under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of Constitution.

Gorkhas’ grievance



The first round of tripartite talks among the Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) opened with the 20-member GJMM delegation forcefully putting across its views during the three-hour meeting, sources said.

The delegation said it was seeking to redress the Gorkhas’ grievance within the ambit of the Constitution and their demand for a separate Gorkhaland State should not be taken as being a secessionist or anti-national demand.




On the economic viability of a separate State to be carved out in the Darjeeling hills, the GJMM contended that tea, tourism and timber would remain main economic resources.

The unexploited potential of hydel power could also be tapped. Besides, there were tremendous opportunities for developing floriculture and horticulture in the hills which had so far been ignored, they argued. (The Hindu)


Centre missive to GJMM

Statesman News Service
DARJEELING, Aug. 5: The Centre has sent a letter to the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha for tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland issue. The GJMM has received a letter from the Union Home Ministry in which, the Centre has expressed a desire to open dialogue with the GJMM on the separate state demand.
“We received a letter from the Union home ministry signed by Home secretary Mr Madhukar Gupta stating that the Centre is ready to hold a meeting with the GJMM on the Gorkhaland issue. We appreciate and welcome the Centre’s move,” said GJMM spokesperson Mr Benoy Tamang today.
According to the GJMM leadership, no specific date was mentioned in the letter for the proposed talks. “We are prepared to attend the tripartite meeting on Gorkhaland but no date has been mentioned in the letter from the Centre. Since the Gorkhaland demand is a political one we request that talks on the matter should be held at a political level,” Mr Tamang said.
Date or not, expectation levels have started soaring in the political circle of the Darjeeling hills ever since it became known that the Centre has sent a letter to the GJMM leadership expressing interest in the talks.

Centre to host tripartite talks on Darjeeling hills

WHILE IT is too early to say whether talks will involving the Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will help resolve the contentious Darjeeling hill issue, the Centre has finally agreed to hold a tripartite meeting. The meeting is likely in mid-August.

The Morcha, which had a few meetings with the West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and senior government officials, were unhappy with the talks with the state ruling out conceding a separate state of Gorkhaland. The agitating hill leaders have been demanding that the state initiate tripartite talks.
The Bengal government received a communiqué yesterday (August 1) from the Union Home Ministry to the effect that it is ready to host tripartite talks. Soon after receiving the green signal from the Centre, state government officials got down to business late on Friday. The chief minister called a meeting at the state secretariat, which was attended by Finance minister Asim Dasgupta, Urban Development and Hill Affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya, chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb and Home secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti.
The hill affairs minister, who has been the centre of controversy, at several points during the on-going agitation in the hills and some parts of the foothills, indicated that the chief secretary in all likelihood would lead a team to New Delhi before which the state government needs to draw up an agenda for the tripartite meet.
The chief minister had made it clear at the very outset that he was not against tripartite talks but would prefer several rounds of bipartite discussions before putting the ball in the Centre’s court. But the Morcha leadership was adamant pointing out that bipartite talks would lead nowhere. The state government finally wrote to the Centre to host tripartite talks.
To go back to the earlier contention on whether tripartite talks would help resolve the imbroglio, it is hard to see how. Bengal has flatly rejected the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland as has the Centre. The Bengal chief minister has offered more power and autonomy to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). But the Mocha leaders want nothing short of a state.
To add to the demand is the belligerent stand of the hill leaders where they have started changing the number plates of vehicles from ‘WB’ (West Bengal) to ‘GL’ (Gorkhaland), a step which flouts motor vehicle rules.
Apart from the periodic indefinite bandhs there have been other forms of arm twisting both contemplated and some implemented, like raising a hill police battalion of sorts, ostensibly in the name of peace keeping during hill rallies and threats to stop the construction of hydro-power projects in the hills, stopping payment of telephone and electricity bills and the like. And disrupting movement of essential supplies to Sikkim bordering China, which had also affected movement of the Indian Army.
It is hard to see the Centre and the state taking these threats repeatedly and conceding the demand of a separate state in what is an extremely sensitive area, hemmed in by Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. And it is not that the demand is new. (merinews)