KOLKATA: A delegation of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and other Darjeeling hill parties on Friday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and requested him to initiate the process of tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland statehood issue among the Centre, State government and pro-Gorkhaland parties. It also requested him to urge West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to end the raids on GJM workers and leaders.
The GJM representatives said the onus to initiate the talks on Gorkhaland lay with the Centre as Mamata has already declared that creation of a separate state is beyond her jurisdiction. Condemning the recent bomb blasts in the Darjeeling Hills, the delegation reiterated that the struggle for Gorkhaland would be democratic and within the framework of the Constitution.
They also requested the home minister to urge Mamata Banerjee to end the crackdown on GJM leaders and workers, stating that police high-handedness was proving to be a hurdle in creating a conducive atmosphere in the hills.
Meanwhile, several Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists were injured after police lathi-charged and fired tear-gas shells during a protest at Chowk Bazaar in Darjeeling. The injured GJM workers were admitted in a local hospital. No one was in a critical condition. Police claimed that the protesters were lathi-charged after the protest turned violent. Some GJM protesters were also detained during the protest.
On the other hand, West Bengal CID wrote a letter to Sikkim Police calling for its assistance to arrest GJM chief Bimal Gurung. The move comes after the Darjeeling district court issued an arrest warrant against Bimal Gurung and seven of his supporters for the violence during the Cabinet meeting of Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling on June 8.
Earlier, a lookout notice was issued against Gurung for his alleged involvement in the multiple low-intensity bomb blasts in several towns of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts that killed and injured several security personnel.
The West Bengal administration has booked cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Darjeeling bomb blasts. Bimal Gurung is suspected to be hiding in south Sikkim, where the West Bengal CID had launched a raid on his hideout.
During the raid, a Gorkhaland agitator called Dawa Bhutia died of bullet wounds. Sikkim Police had filed a first information report (FIR) against the CID and Kalimpong superintendent of police Ajit Kumar Yadav for not notifying it before conducting the operation and entering the state with the motive to kill a person.