Kolkata:Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung on Tuesday announced that his group was calling off the strike in the Hills on the request of Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Wednesday onward. The strike for a separate Gorkhaland which began on June 15 this year lasted 104 days.
In an audio message, Gurung said that the group had decided to suspend the strike, welcoming Rajnath Singh's initiative for a tripartite meeting.
The Ministry of Home Affairs also issued a statement on Tuesday evening, saying, "Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Union Home Secretary to convene an official level meeting in the Ministry of Home Affairs within a fortnight to discuss all related issues.”
"I also appeal to the GJM and its leader Shri Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conducive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area, particularly in view of the festive season,” the MHA statement reads.
“On the call of GJM, an indefinite strike is currently on in the Darjeeling Hills since June 12, 2017. Eleven precious lives have been lost so far, several have been injured and the entire people of Darjeeling hills have suffered a lot since the strike. I have been pained immensely by what has happened in Darjeeling hills. In a democracy, the dialogue is the only way out to resolve any problem. Solutions can be found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit,” it reads.
On September 20, in a major setback to Bimal Gurung, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had formed a new body called “Board of Administrators for Darjeeling Hills (BoA)” till the scheduled election of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), and appointed rebel GJM leader Binay Tamang as its Chairman to look into the Hills Affairs in Darjeeling.
Another GJM rebel leader Anit Thapa was made the vice-chairman of BoA. The other key members in the BoA are State Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De, LB Rai (TMC), Mann Ghising (GNLF), Sanchari Subba (GJM), Jaitoon Khatun.
While addressing the media persons, Mamata said, “All of them were appointed to supervise the administration in the hills in absence of GTA. The Board will govern the areas that fall under GTA. The initiative has been taken for the development of the Hills.”