Tripartite talks on Darjeeling fail

The Economic Times

21 Dec 2009, 2225 hrs IST,
Debasis Sarkar, ET Bureau

SILIGURI: The fourth tripartite meeting involving the Centre, the state government and the GJM on the Gorkhaland issue ended inconclusively here on Monday. While the government side assured initiation of the process for political level discussions, the GJM decided to relax its agitation till December 25. The hunger strike will resume on December 27 in which students will take part.

Though the state government had announced earlier that no discussion on separate statehood would take place, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said after the meet, “The discussion was on Gorkhaland statehood only.”

“All our deliberations centered around our demand for Gorkhaland state. We want political level talks within the next 45 days,” Mr Giri added.

Addressing reporters after the meet, Union home secretary GK Pillai said: “We had detailed discussions on the various aspects of formation of Gorkhaland. But there was no political consensus.”

Noting that the GJM had indicated that it would like the next round of talks to be held at political level within 45 days, Mr Pillai said it would be placed before the respective governments and we will revert to the GJM by 45 days.”

Asked if the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), set up in 1988, would continue to function, Mr Pillai said in the last tripartite meeting on August 11, it was agreed that DGHC would be abolished and an alternative framework come up in Darjeeling. Neither the GJM nor the West Bengal government had finalised their views on an interim arrangement but the Centre had a proposal which was not placed at the tripartite talks, Mr Pillai added.

However, GJM supporters have started celebrating considering the outcome as highly positive. But the hills as a whole remain under uncertainty

Meanwhile, despite negligible picketing, the plains of Darjeeling district looked deserted due to the bandh called by anti-Gorkhaland political forces. The Kamtapur Peoples Party activists blocked NH31A, demanding a separate Kamtapur state. Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party will launch a hunger strike on Tuesday to push their demand for a separate Greater Cooch Behar state.

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