February 17, 2009

Create right atmosphere for talks, Governor told Morcha

KOLKATA: West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Thursday reiterated, before Gorkha Janamukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung, the need for maintaining an atmosphere in the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars conducive to the ongoing tripartite discussions on the political situation in the region.

Mr. Gurung along with nine associates called on the Governor here, a day after talks with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on the GJM’s demands related to its Statehood campaign in the Dooars area.

Mr. Gurung’s demand for holding rallies in the Dooars was not acceded to by Mr. Bhattacharjee on the ground that such public meetings by any political outfit in the region should be put on hold as it could exacerbate ethnic tensions there.

“The Governor was informed of the State government denying the GJM permission for rallies there and we were assured that he would take up our various demands with the Prime Minister as well as the Chief Minister,” Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary, who was present at the meeting, told mediapersons.

Mr. Gandhi also indicated to Mr. Gurung his distress over a fast being observed by GJM supporters at Gorubathan in the Kalimpong sub-division.

The Governor, through Mr. Gurung, appealed to the fasting persons to give up their protest as he was taking up the issues raised by the GJM leader.

The “fast-unto-death” would continue until the State government met the GJM demands, Mr. Giri said.“We will not move even an inch away from our demand for Gorkhaland,” Mr. Giri said.“We do not believe in an arms struggle to achieve Statehood. Our struggle is democratic and on Gandhian principles. There is a conspiracy to malign the democratic image of the GJM; what we are asking for is a separate State within the framework of the Indian Constitution” he added.

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