A small delegation of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here and raised the issue of Gorkhaland and the need for a “tripartite dialogue” to resolve the long-pending demands of the Gorkhas.
The six-member delegation, led by by GJM leader Swaraj Thapa, held a 30-minute meeting with Rajnath Singh at his residence in which Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Minister S.S. Ahluwalia, who is MP from Darjeeling, were reportedly present.
“In the meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the GJM delegation raised the issue of Gorkhaland and the need for a tripartite dialogue to resolve the long pending demands of the Gorkhas,” a GJM statement said.
The GJM members – including Roshan Giri, Thapa, D.K. Pradhan, Tilak Chand Roka and P.T. Ola – also sought immediate central intervention to end the 96-day indefinite strike.
“We are hopeful of an early resolution to the stalemate. We also apprised the Home Minister of police atrocities used by the West Bengal government in the name of law and order, and trying to suppress the democratic agitation for the movement of Gorkhaland,” the GJM statement said.
This was the second meeting of GJM leaders with Rajnath Singh this month. A eight-member GJM delegation and other hill parties met the Home Minister over the Gorkhaland issue on September 8.
The demand for a separate Gorkhaland resurfaced before the 2016 Assembly elections when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced several “development boards” for different communities in Darjeeling district, such as the Lepchas and Tamangs.
The GJM has maintained that setting up separate boards outside of the functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a part of Banerjee’s “divisive politics”.
The demand picked up steam right after the Assembly election. While the GJM continued to retain all seats in the district, its vote share had fallen alarmingly by nearly 40 per cent and Banerjee’s Trinamool had managed to make inroads in the region.
Singhmari and Patlebas areas in Darjeeling have witnessed several incidents of violence involving the GJM activists and police in the last couple of months.
Besides the GJM, various other hill parties and intellectuals marched on the streets of Darjeeling with black flags and placards demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.