Kolkata, Sep 30 (IANS) The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), spearheading a separatist movement in West Bengal's Darjeeling hills, Monday said the central government has convened tripartite talks Oct 23 on the Gorkhaland issue.
"I am happy to get a call from the central government for tripartite talks on the long pending demands of the Gorkhas. The talks are scheduled on Oct 23. The GJM believes that our demand can be solved with dialogue.
"We are also appealing to the centre for withdrawing central forces immediately," GJM chief Bimal Gurung said on his official Facebook page.
The GJM-led Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) -a forum of pro-Gorkhaland parties which has been carrying out an intensified movement demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland, Sep 10 suspended its agitation till Oct 20 in deference to the appeal by union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to facilitate tripartite talks.
Following hectic parleys by the GJM with the central leadership, Shinde earlier in the month assured the Gorkha outfit of tripartite talks on the issue.
On July 18, 2011 a tripartite agreement was signed between the Gorkha outfit and the state and central governments creating the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous hill council with the GJM at the helm.
However, the GJM has maintained that the GTA was "not autonomous" and said it will be "repealed at an appropriate time".
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has taken a stern stand on the Gorkhaland issue and ruled out any division of the state, has been cracking down on the GJM-led movement by deploying central and state security forces and arresting over 1000 Gorkha leaders and activists.