first_imgSigns of thawing of relationship between the West Bengal government and leaders of Gorkhaland movement was evident on Tuesday at the second all-party meeting when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee agreed to some of the demands of the hill parties.Five political parties of the hills participated in the meeting held at Uttar Kanya, which serves as Secretariat in north Bengal. Ms. Banerjee chaired the meeting where seven leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), including Benoy Tamang, who has recently been expelled by the GJM, was present.Mr. Tamang submitted a memorandum of 17 demands on behalf of the GJM. The Chief Minister agreed on at least two major demands of providing compensation to those killed in the Darjeeling hills in the three-month-long agitation and constituting a high level inquiry to probe the series of small intensity blasts that have rocked the hills. The Chief Minister also promised to pay salaries in advance to government employees who are ready to join work. Mr. Tamang described the talks as fruitful and emphasised on the need for a tripartite meeting on the ongoing impasse. Though expelled from the party, the State government still recognises him as the face of GJM. Mr. Tamang also stayed away from inner squabbles of the party at the meeting. He introduced all seven members of the GJM, including his supporters, as the representatives of GJM. The Chief Minister, who underlined the need for a permanent solution, said she would have to take opinion on the issue of tripartite talks as the hill leaders elected to the regional autonomous body of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration ( GTA) have resigned. The GTA provided provisions for tripartite talks, she added.“ I want peace in the hills … I don’t want to leave the hills and I feel people of the hills do not want to leave us,” Ms. Banerjee said. The next meeting on the issue will be held on October 17.Later, the GJM issued a statement urging the Centre to “immediately convene a meeting on the issue at the earliest so that the stalemate in the hills can be resolved.” While expressing disappointment with the outcome of the meeting, the GJM said it was “partly appreciative” of the CM’s statement that “every citizen has the right to do agitation.” The statement also added that the “90 days of indefinite strike and the death of 11 Gorkhaland supporters was not bargain for bonus, salary, winter allowance for teachers and development issues.”last_img

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