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Darjeeling crisis: Gorkha leaders meet Rajnath Singh

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-08-2017 Arkamoy Dutta Majumdar

Kolkata: Gorkha leaders demanding a separate state for the Nepali-speaking community of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts to be carved out of West Bengal, got an audience with Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday. Following the meeting, the leaders claimed that the Centre had assured them of steps to resolve the crisis.

The hills of West Bengal have been crippled by an indefinite strike for two months now, and this was the first time the Gorkha leaders managed to present their case to the Union home minister.

The disruption has already taken its toll on the neighbouring state of Sikkim, which was among the first to appeal for Centre’s intervention to resolve the standoff.

After Singh’s intervention, leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) appealed to the party supporters to stay calm and not indulge in violent protests.

Swaraj Thapa, advisor to the GJM, and Kalyan Dewan, convener of the Gorkhaland Movement Co-ordination Committee—a joint forum of Gorkha parties—said in New Delhi that no decision, however, had yet been taken on whether to withdraw the strike.

Asked if a tripartite meeting involving the state administration of West Bengal was likely to follow, Thapa said it was now up to the Centre to decide the next course of action.

In a press statement, Singh said, “I appeal to chief minister Mamata Banerjee to initiate a dialogue with the GJM”, and restore Internet and cable TV services.

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