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Tripartite hill talks on Sept 8

Darjeeling, Aug. 27: The Centre, the Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will hold tripartite talks on the hill party’s “demand” in New Delhi on September 8.

“We have received a letter written by Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, the state home secretary, and addressed to our party president (Bimal Gurung) inviting the Morcha for talks to be held in New Delhi on September 8,” Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said here today.

Asked about the agenda for the talks, Giri said: “The letter states that the meeting is on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s demand and it is clear to everybody that our demand is Gorkhaland and nothing else.”

Gurung had earlier threatened to walk out of the proposed tripartite meeting if Gorkhaland did not figure in the discussions.

The discussion is most likely to be held at the secretarial level with top bureaucrats from the state and the Centre meeting the Morcha delegations.

The Morcha, on the other hand, had been adamant that the tripartite talks should be held at the political level, as the issue of Gorkhaland was a political one.

Today, Giri, however, said the Morcha would attend the talks. “After all, the meeting was our demand and we will definitely attend the talks. In fact, we will hold a party meeting within a few days to discuss various aspects of the tripartite talks,” he added, without disclosing the date of the party meet.

The Morcha is expected to take an all-party delegation to the tripartite meeting as promised by Gurung earlier. “This stand of the Morcha has already been announced by the party president,” said Giri.

An all-party meeting is expected to follow the internal meeting of the Morcha. However, one prickly issue could be the Morcha’s strained relation with the CPRM, an important opposition outfit in Darjeeling.

Recently, the CPRM had openly criticised the Morcha for opposing its August 22 strike in the hills (called to demand speedy trial of Chattrey Subba, the prime accused in the assassination attempt on GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh in 2001). In a bid to smoothen ruffled feathers, the Morcha had quickly issued a statement that all issues between the two families could be amicably solved thorough a dialogue.

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