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2 Aug 2017

Asok barb at BJP & Trinamul

Children help porters ferry drinking water in Darjeeling on Tuesday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 1: Left Front leaders of Darjeeling district today alleged that the BJP and Trinamul, which are in power at the Centre and state, had not taken any initiative to end the current impasse in the hills because of their political interests.
Following the resumption of statehood movement in the hills, the CPM leaders in Siliguri have time and again demanded that tripartite talks be held to end the crisis but no talks have been arranged so far.
Today, at a news conference here, Siliguri MLA and CPM state secretariat member Asok Bhattacharya said: "The state has taken a strict stance on the hill issue while the Centre is silent. Such attitude from the governments (Trinamul and BJP) is disappointing. Both the parties are well aware of the inconveniences faced by the hill people and so far there is no intervention from their side. We think that Trinamul and the BJP want this situation to prolong for their own political interests."
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had started agitation in the hills on June 8 for separate statehood and from June 15 the party launched an indefinite strike.
The movement was later joined by other hill parties who were not ready to sit for talks with the state, despite a call from chief minister Mamata Banerjee, sources said.
The hill leaders want the Centre to convene a meeting and have asserted that they would attend talks only on the agenda of Gorkhaland while the Centre is maintaining a stoic silence on the issue.
The Union ministers have clarified in the Parliament that they were helping the state (Bengal) with security forces to handle law and order problems in Darjeeling, sources said.
"We do not support vandalism, arson and violence which have occurred in hills because of the agitation. But the state should mellow down and the Morcha leaders should also not take a one-point stand. It would be wrong to interpret the agitation as a law and order problem," Asok said.
The Left leaders iterated that during their government, the state had initiated communication with the Morcha when the party had resumed movement for separate statehood.
Jibesh Sarkar, the convener of Darjeeling district Left Front, said. "The CPM did not sit idle and communicated with the Morcha and took the matter up with the Centre. We are against partition of Bengal and believe in conferring autonomy to the hill region."

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