Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021 06:00 [IST]
Last Update: Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021 00:21 [IST]
DARJEELING,: A second round of tripartite talks on the long pending issues of Gorkhas would take place after Diwali in November following the first meeting held on Tuesday chaired by Union Home minister Amit Shah at New Delhi.
“Home minister Amit Shah listened to all the parties concerned, and has decided to call for the second round of talks after Diwali in November. The West Bengal government has been specifically asked to send senior officials who are empowered, for the next round of talks,” said Darjeeling MP Raju Bista in a press statement from Delhi after the meeting.
Bista along with Darjeeling MLA Neeraj Zimba, Kurseong MLA B.P. Bajgain, Kalchini MLA Bishal Lama, GNLF chief Mann Ghisingh and leaders of different political parties of the hills who are allies of BJP attended the tripartite meeting.
MoS Home Nityanand Raj and MoS Minority Affairs John Barla were also present at the meeting representing the Centre along with top officials from Home and Tribal Affairs ministries and representatives from West Bengal government.
“The talks held in a very conducive atmosphere have given us hope and encouragement that finally after decades of being relegated to the side-lines, the issues confronting the Gorkhas and our region will finally be resolved. We eagerly look forward to the 2nd round of talks,” said the Darjeeling MP.
The delegation from the hills and Dooars-Terai region pressed for a permanent political solution to address the issues of Gorkhas as the “stop-gap arrangements” like GTA has failed to meet the expectations of the people from the region.
“We highlighted various issues concerning the Gorkhas and the region, including lack of democracy and absence of grassroots-level governance bodies in the region. We highlighted that stop-gap semi-autonomous governance arrangements in the form of bodies like Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) had failed to meet the expectations of the people from the region. Highlighting the lack of democracy in the region, we stated how panchayat elections in the region have not been held since 2001, and that GTA was being run using TMC cadres as Board of Administrators since 2017, and thus we called for a permanent political solution to be arrived at the earliest,” said Bista.
“Our team also highlighted the delay in re-inclusion of 11 left-out Gorkha sub-tribes in the Schedule Tribe list. We stated that post-Independence the “Hill Tribes” status of the Gorkhas were removed without any consultation with the community which had deprived the Gorkhas of their traditional rights and left them vulnerable to exploitation. The delegation reminded the Central government team that the Government of West Bengal and Government of Sikkim had already supported the inclusion of these left-out sub-tribes as ST, and that the Government of India had also constituted three committees led by Union Tribal Affairs minister to examine the demand. We thus asked for the process to be expedited at the earliest,” said Bista.
Bista thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah for initiating the historic tripartite talks aimed at resolving the long pending issues of the Gorkhas.