Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday called an all-party meeting on August 29 to restore peace in the Darjeeling hill districts.
This came a day after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) issued a similar appeal.
Banerjee’s decision to issue a call for talks came after she received a letter from the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) with a similar request.
Speaking to the media, Banerjee said, “I am happy to receive a letter from GNLF and I have asked all parties to meet on August 29 to end the deadlock in Darjeeling at the earliest. It will be an unconditional.”
“We are in favour of peace, normalcy and development. We are ready to talk to anyone who is in favour of peace and normalcy. I had myself chaired a meeting with all the chairpersons of the development boards”, she said.
“We want development of the Hills. I appeal to my brothers and sisters in the hills to cooperate with us to restore peace and normalcy there. Working together is essential for the development of the hills and of the state as a whole,” she added.
Banerjee, without specifically naming the GJM, said, “The meeting will be held in the state secretariat - Nabanna. It is a constructive steps. Since beginning, I was requesting them to sit for a talk. I am happy that they agree for a dialogue.”
When asked whether GJM will participate in the meeting, she said, “All major political hill parties are welcome to participate in the meeting.”
On Monday, the GJM had requested for a tripartite meet to end the deadlock in the Hills. GJM Joint Secretary (Central Committee), Binoy Tamang said, "The onus of ensuring peace in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars is not only the responsibility of the people living there but also that of the Centre as well as the West Bengal government. We, therefore, request the governments to initiate talks at the earliest so that peace and normalcy could be restored in our region."
The GJM had called for an indefinite strike in Darjeeling hills on June 12 demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.