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Darjeeling stalemate: GJM writes to West Bengal govt, to attend August 29 meeting

6The GJM has expressed its willingness to attend the August 29 talks to resolve the Darjeeling stalemate.
Darjeeling: The GJM on Thursday shot off another letter to the West Bengal government expressing its willingness to attend the August 29 talks to resolve the Darjeeling stalemate abandoning its earlier stand.
The letter, written by Binay Tamang, a leader of agitation spearhead Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said, “No other alternative or modified step will do justice to our plight…Other than creation of a separate Gorkhaland.”
Tamang’s missive was preceded by a letter GJM chief Bimal Gurung wrote to the state government last night requesting a “political dialogue” on the demand for a separate state.
Gurung expressed the GJM’s willingness to hold talks in the letter, a copy of which was made available to the media today.
The chief minister told reporters at the state secretariat here, “We have received a letter from the GJM leader Binay Tamang in this regard, though we have not received any letter from Bimal Gurung. They will be participating in the August 29 meeting.”
Gurung said, “Under the situation we request your honour to initiate a political dialogue on the long-pending demand of the Gorkhas which is Gorkhaland to help resolve the present crisis in Darjeeling.”
He said that the two “failed councils in Darjeeling hills like the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) should pave the way for us to learn from previous mistakes that experimental models to temporarily curb the people’s aspiration for separation from West Bengal has not worked in the past nor in the present.”
Gurung said that the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding had stated that the GTA was only an interim arrangement and that the demand for Gorkhaland remained.
The GJM chief also demanded a judicial probe into the deaths due to police action during the agitation and compensation for the families of the victims besides restoration of supply of food and other essential commodities.
He also demanded withdrawal of all cases — both old and new — against the agitators and release of those detained during the stir, restoration of internet, cable TV and local TV channels in the hills.
He said that despite the shortage of food, vegetables and essential commodities in the hills, “our people are willing to continue the bandh till Gorkhaland demand is fulfilled”.
The state government had on Tuesday invited the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and other major hill parties to the meeting at the state secretariat in Kolkata to discuss restoration of peace in the hills in response to the GNLF’s request for a dialogue.
The GNLF Central Committee, Darjeeling president Mann Ghisingh had written the leter to the West Bengal government.
Even as the major hill parties prepared to attend the crucial meeting, two blasts rocked Darjeeling this morning, the 71st day of the indefinite shutdown.
“Two blasts took place but there are no reports of any injury. We have started an investigation into both the cases,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma said.
In another incident, a godown was set afire by pro- Gorkhaland supporters.
The police said an improvised explosive device (IED) went off outside Sukhiapokhri police station causing severe damage to nearby shops and vehicles.
The perpetrators targeted the police station but failed to breach the perimeter wall of the building, the police said.
The bomb went off on the road, they said, adding no casualties were reported.
The second blast took place at Lodhama village, damaging damaged a few vehicles. There was, however, no report of any injury.
The explosions took place five days after a twin blast hit the Darjeeling hills on Saturday in which one civic police volunteer was killed and two other people were injured.

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