Mamata calls all-party meet to bring Darjeeling back to normal
Kolkata: The state government will hold a meeting of all political parties intending to restore peace and normalcy in Darjeeling on August 29, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday. The meeting will be held at 4 pm at Nabanna and all political parties showing interest to restore peace will be invited, she told newsmen this afternoon.
She said the president of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) Man Ghisingh has written a letter to her requesting to organize a high level meeting to restore peace in the hills. It is high time to carry out development in the hills and to end the impasse a high level intervention is required wrote the president of GNLF.
In the letter Ghisingh wrote "I on behalf of the Gorkha National Liberation Front and people of Darjeeling like to draw your kind attention, after considering the sufferings of the people of Darjeeling Hill areas for more than two months because of the ongoing indefinite shutdown. The said indefinite situation has reached in 66 days, which has totally paralyzed the normal life of the people of the Hill areas of Darjeeling in all respects and also caused extensive damage to or stalled all development work, therefore, would like to request you for a high level intervention with a view to and the present crisis of the Hill areas of Darjeeling."
"It is a good proposal and we have honoured it. Earlier, the Chief Secretary had called a meeting in Siliguri to restore the impasse. All those interested to bring back normal are welcome to join the meeting," she said. The members of various development board will be invited to attend the meeting.
Banerjee said that the state government is all for peace and normalcy in the hills. Life is limping back in the hills. Some shops have been opened in Darjeeling and Mirik. Some tea gardens are in the process of opening. "We all want peace and development in Darjeeling and we feel that the letter is a positive one in this direction."
Banerjee said that many government offices and private properties have been damaged but the policed have maintained a "very restrained role."
It may be recalled that GJM started indefinite strike in Darjeeling from the second week of June demanding separate statehood. State government offices were set on fire. The state government made special arrangements to bring back the tourists. Many state government offices in Kalimpong and Kurseong were set ablaze. Police officers were attacked and killed.
The police played a very restrained role. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had over and again spoken about all party meeting to end the violence in Darjeeling but the talks could start if GJM had given up the path of violence. GJM had refused to sit with the state government and sought intervention of the Centre in the matter.
However, Union Home minister Rajnath Singh had told them to sit with the state government and resolve the impasse.