Darjeeling MLA Neeraj Zimba on Sunday claimed that national security adviser Ajit Doval had held two meetings with Gorkha National Liberation Front president Mann Ghisingh during the 2017 statehood agitation, as a result of which the party had written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee “for a high-level intervention”.
Soon after the 104-day violent Gorkhaland movement had ended in 2017, Mamata has pointed to the GNLF letter, which was unknown to the public until then, to call an all-party meeting to discuss the Darjeeling issue.
Addressing a public meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday, Zimba said: “I got a call from a big man, well let me name him, Ajit Doval, national security adviser…. He said, call your president, there was a meeting in Dehradun.”
During the agitation, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was an ally of the BJP that was in power at the Centre.
However, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said he was not aware of the meeting between Ghisingh and Doval. “I had not heard about the meeting.”
Zimba’s claim has raised questions among many in the hills on whether the BJP government had bypassed its ally Morcha.
The context of the speech by the GNLF leader — who had won the Darjeeling bypoll on a BJP ticket — was to defend an allegation that Ghisingh’s party was responsible for derailing the Gorkhaland agitation by writing to the chief minister seeking a dialogue when the hills were in the middle of the movement.
The letter was written when the strike had just crossed two months.
Zimba, however, said the GNLF had intervened in “national interest” and cited the standoff on the India-China border at Doklam in Sikkim.
“The Doklam standoff was a threat to national security,” said Zimba, suggesting that the boundary issue was the trigger for the Doval-Ghisingh talks.
Ghisingh was present when the Darjeeling MLA spoke.
While speaking to this correspondent on the sidelines of the meeting, Zimba refused to name Doval but said a meeting “with a very senior high intelligence officer” had been held in Dehradun followed by another in Delhi. “As a result, we had to write a letter to the state government to invite all parties (for a meeting).”
Asked if the GNLF had been directed to write to the government, Zimba said: “It was advised to us, he talked to us about the national interest and we thought it was wise enough to write.”
The GNLF leader also said the Centre or the BJP had not uttered a word during the 2017 movement for fear that “the agitation would flare up” which would be detrimental to national interests. Mann Ghisingh declined comments.