NEW DELHI: The Centre today said it was keen on holding tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and the West Bengal government to end the ongoing agitation in the Darjeeling hills.
"We want to hold dialogue with the agitating organisations to ensure peace returns to Darjeeling. In the talks, the West Bengal government's presence is necessary as law and order is a state subject," a home ministry official said.
The GJM had on Monday asked the central government to initiate a dialogue on the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, saying the current agitation was not a mere law and order problem.
All parties of Darjeeling hills yesterday decided to continue with the indefinite shutdown, which entered its 23nd day today.
Rallies and protest marches were taken out in various parts of Darjeeling in support of the demand for a separate state.
There have been several incidents of violence in the picturesque town during the strike, which started after the state government had said that Bengali would be a compulsory subject in the schools in the hills. Darjeeling has predominantly Nepali-speaking population.
With food supply severely hit due to the ongoing shutdown, GJM activists and NGOs of the hills have been distributing food items among the people.