Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Joint Secretary Binay Tamang on Monday requested the Centre and the West Bengal government to initiate talks at the earliest to restore peace in Darjeeling, reported PTI. Tamang said his party was willing to hold talks as the indefinite strike entered the 68th day on Monday.
“The responsibility of ensuring peace in the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars is not only that of the people who live here, but also that of the Central government and the West Bengal government,” said Tamang. “We, therefore, request both the governments to initiate talks at the earliest so as to restore peace and normality.”
Violence broke out in Darjeeling in June after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Although she had said that hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the GJM began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Tamang’s comments comes two days after the police had booked GJM chief Bimal Gurung and several others under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged involvement in a blast at Chowkbazar. After the Chowkbazar blast on Friday night, another blast near Kalimpong police station in Darjeeling had killed one person and injured three policemen on Saturday.
Tamang condemned the Chowkbazar and the Kalimpong police station blasts, and said the GJM believed in democratic forms of protest. “We have already demanded a probe by the NIA [National Investigation Agency] into the blasts on Saturday,” he said.