Mamata urges for peace in Darjeeling hills, says ready for talks

World Saturday 08/July/2017 17:49 PM
By: Times News Service
Mamata urges for peace in Darjeeling hills, says ready for talks

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday urged the political parties in the Darjeeling hills to return to the path of peace and sit with the government for talks.
"The government is ready for talks with the hill parties, but peace has to be ushered in. The government has shown enough restraint in the interest of the people of the hills. Peace has to return to the hills," she said.
"If peace returns in the next 10-15 days, I can call the hill parties for talks. But, let us restore peace first," she added.
Banerjee said schools and colleges remained closed in Darjeeling, the people there were not getting enough food and other essential commodities and alleged that the leaders of the hill parties, however, were getting their supplies "from Sikkim and Nepal".
The state government, she added, would send food to the people of the hills.
The chief minister accused the Centre of "deliberate and total non-cooperation" in the matter and alleged that its refusal to send CRPF personnel, as demanded by the West Bengal government, had led to the current situation in the Darjeeling hills, where an indefinite shutdown, called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and backed by the other political parties in the hills, entered its 24th day on Saturday.
"The Darjeeling problem had erupted on June 8 and a month has passed since. Had the CRPF personnel been sent in time, this would not have happened," she said.
Banerjee claimed that as the state police did not have enough personnel to tackle the situation in the hills, the assistance of the central forces was sought.
"The Centre sent seven companies, out of which three were from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). They have been completely inactive.
They can only wield lathis with no power," she said.
Banerjee alleged that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had "perpetrated" the problems in Kashmir and was now "trying to destabilise" the hills.
"The Centre must cooperate. The state will also. Politics and governance are different," she said.
The chief minister claimed that certain decisions of the Centre such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) were nothing but "big corruptions".
"These will be exposed once the BJP is not in power," she claimed.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has returned an additional 400 paramilitary BSF troops sent for deployment in the riot-hit areas of North 24-Parganas district, Union home ministry sources said on Saturday.
The state government has its own security forces like the Eastern Frontier Rifles and was not deploying them, they said.
Instead, it was blaming the central government, the sources said.
Four BSF companies (comprising 100 personnel each) were sent to Basirhat and two day back, four additional companies were also dispatched, but these were returned by the state government, the ministry sources said.
The MHA's response came after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the central government has a non- cooperative attitude and the additional four companies were never sent.
Referring to Darjeeling hills which have also witnessed violence, the sources said 11 companies of paramilitary force personnnel were sent by the Centre, including one company consisting of women.
The state government also conveyed to the home ministry that the all-woman company should be withdrawn, they said.
Communal clashes broke out in Baduria in Basirhat sub- division of the district on Monday following an "objectionable" Facebook post.
The West Bengal government said it would set up a judicial panel to look into the "communal" clashes at Baduria and Basirhat in the North 24 Parganas district following a Facebook post.
"We have decided to initiate a judicial probe into the Baduria and Basirhat riots. We want to see who were involved in them and the government will provide every input to the judicial commission. Let there be an impartial probe," Banerjee told reporters.
She added that the law would take its own course and strict action would be taken against those responsible for the clashes.
Banerjee also said her government would take action against "two national-level television channels" for showing "fake" videos and claiming them to be related to the clashes.
"Video clips of an incident in Comilla, Bangladesh and a Bhojpuri film were being shown as if these incidents had taken place in Bengal," she alleged.
Banerjee congratulated the people of Baduria and Basirhat for "not falling into the BJP's trap, in spite of provocations".