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Amit Shah calls talks on ‘issues’ related to Gorkhas

With regard to the Darjeeling stakeholders, Zimba said invitations had been sent to individual emails
Amit Shah.

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 06.10.21, 02:31 AM

Union home minister Amit Shah has convened a meeting in New Delhi on October 12 “for resolution of issues related to Gorkhas”.

But the plan for the meeting hasn’t evoked much interest in the Darjeeling hills in the absence of confirmation of the number and the names of the invitees.


The invitation letter issued by Paritosh Yadav, assistant section officer, Union home ministry (Centre-State division), said the “Union Home minister is taking a meeting on 12.10.2021 at 4.00 PM in R.No. 119, North Block for resolution of issues related to Gorkhas”.

“We don’t know who all are invited to the meeting and what will be discussed with reference to ‘issues related to Gorkhas’.... For months, the BJP and its allies have been talking about a ‘tripartite meeting’ to be held in Delhi and it is expected that they will be happy. We will have to reserve our comments till we have specifics about the participation and the agenda of the meeting,” said a prominent Darjeeling politician who didn’t wish to be named.

The BJP has been using different expressions with regard to the Darjeeling issue since 2009, raising questions about the party’s capability or interest in discussing the demand for Gorkhaland state, which is the aspiration of a majority of Gorkhas.

In the Lok Sabha election manifestos of 2009 and 2014, the BJP had said it “will

sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of Gorkha, Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and Dooars region…”.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto, the BJP said it was “committed to work towards finding a permanent political solution to the issues of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri Terai and Dooars region”.

The Centre had called a tripartite meeting on August 7, 2020, on “issues related to Gorkhaland” but within days, the agenda was changed to “issues pertaining to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration”.

Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which was then an ally of the BJP, had said the agenda had been changed following pressure from the Bengal BJP.

The meeting did take place on October 7, 2020, but the GTA and the state did not send representatives.

At a time when the hills were using the phrase “permanent political solution”, “issues related to Gorkhas” has become the agenda of the October 12 meeting.

Neeraj Zimba, GNLF leader who won the Darjeeling Assembly seat on a BJP ticket, however, claimed that for his party, the “issue of Gorkhas” means “Gorkhaland.”

Quoting “sources”, the Darjeeling MLA said an invitation had also been sent to the state government. “It is a different matter whether the state will attend the talks or not,” said Zimba.

The Telegraph couldn’t confirm independently if the state government had received the invitation letter.

With regard to the Darjeeling stakeholders, Zimba said invitations had been sent to individual emails.

“As far as I know public representatives, including Raju Bista (Darjeeling MP), John Barla (Alipurduar MP), Bishal Lama (Kalchini MLA) and B.P. Bajgain (Kurseong MLA) have been invited to the meeting,” said Zimba.

All these legislators belong to the BJP.

“My party president (Mann Ghisingh) has been invited, as has been R.B. Rai (president, CPRM, which is an ally of BJP),” said Zimba.

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