Hill meet to decide on PC plea – Chidambaram appeals to Gurung’s party to withdraw fast, One hospitalised in Kalimpong

The Telegraph

Dec.18: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today appealed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to call off the fast-unto-death in the Darjeeling hills.

Chidambaram in his appeal — the third in two weeks — said the deteriorating health of some of those who are on fast was a matter of concern.

“A delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called on me on December 11. The delegation conveyed to me their intention to call a general strike as well as to launch a fast-unto-death programme… I impressed upon them that the tripartite talks were scheduled to be held on December 21 and hence there was no need to adopt an agitational approach on the eve of such talks,” Chidambaram said in a statement.

“I am saddened to learn that several hunger strikers are suffering from dehydration and some have been hospitalised,” the statement read.

The indefinite hunger strike is meant to keep up pressure on the Centre and the state — two of the three parties to the talks, the third being the Morcha — before the December 21 meeting.

In Darjeeling, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said the party had received Chidambaram’s appeal. “We will sit at 11am tomorrow and decide on our response to the appeal,” Giri said.

Home secretary Ardhendu Sen, who had earlier announced that Gorkhaland would not exactly figure in the fourth round of tripartite talks, today said at Writers’ Buildings that in the face of protests and fasts, the condition was not favourable for the December 21 discussion.

“There’s no doubt that the talks will take place though the situation is not ideal for it. But it is difficult to say whether these talks will prove successful under the circumstances,” said Sen.

Asked what the talks would focus on since the Morcha has said it would not discuss anything other than statehood, Sen said: “They had said the same things before the three tripartite talks earlier. But discussions on other issues did take place then and if the government so thinks, it will take place this time too.”

Last night in Kalimpong, Morcha president Bimal Gurung ruled out taking the States Reorganisation Commission route to the creation of Gorkhaland.

Gorkhaland must be created in the same manner in which the Centre has set in motion the process of forming Telangana by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh, Gurung said.

“We are not interested whether or not the SRC is set up. If the 60-year demand for Telangana can be created overnight, why can’t our 102-year demand for Gorkhaland be formed in the same manner?” asked Gurung.

The Morcha president was in Kalimpong to visit those on fast in front of the sub-divisional office.


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