Bengal government trying to create a rift : GMCC

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Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee accused the West Bengal government
Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee accused the West Bengal government

Darjeeling : The Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee on Monday accused the West Bengal government of trying to create a rift among the parties that are its members by selectively inviting a few of them for the August 29 all party meeting in Kolkata on the north Bengal hills unrest.

The GMCC leadership said they have decided not to attend the meeting as no formal invitation was sent by the state government.

"We expected the state government to send the GMCC a formal letter of invitation as a gesture. But they have sidelined the committee and taken a selective approach to creating a rift among the GMCC members. So we have decided not to participate in the meeting," committee convenor Kalyan Dewan told IANS.

"It seems the state government does not want GMCC to be present at the meeting in spite of it having the representation of 20-odd hill parties. As far as my knowledge, only GJM, GNLF and JAP has received the government letter to attend the meeting in Kolkata," he alleged.

Dewan, who is also the Vice President of GJM, said the committee has left it to the individual parties to decide whether they would attend the meeting and urged the representatives at Wednesday's talks to focus on the demand for separate Gorkhaland.

"The parties who would attend the meeting should urge the state to take necessary and appropriate steps to create the separate state of Gorkhaland and initiate a three-way talk between the state, the center and the Gorkhas on the issue," he said.

Dewan said the hill party representatives should remember the sacrifices of the people who died during the movement and numerous others who voluntarily decided to suffer for the cause of Gorkhaland.

Meanwhile, GJM Joint Secretary Binay Tamang who reached Kolkata on Monday along with other party representatives to attend the meeting said Gorkhaland will be their top most priority of discussion.

"CM has called the meeting on behalf of the government of West Bengal. The core ideology of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is still Gorkhaland. In the meeting, we will discuss that.

"Side by side, we will also hold parleys on the impasse in the hills over the past 90 days. Whatever it may be, we will discuss and act in the interest of the people," he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at the state secretariat Nabanna near Kolkata, Chief Minister Banerjee iterated that her government wanted peace to return to the hills.

"We all want restoration of peace in the Darjeeling hills," she said.

Sources said Banerjee is likely to lead a team of senior ministers and high ranking bureaucrats at the meeting.

Responding to a letter from Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) last week requesting a dialogue to restore normalcy in the north Bengal hills, she called up an all party meeting on August 29 at the state secretariat Nabanna.

The hills have been on the boil for over two and a half months after the GJM revived its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Normal life has been paralyzed since June 12 due to an indefinite shutdown called by the GJM, severely impacting the region's economy based on tea, tourism, and timber.