Mamata Banerjee (L), chief minister of West Bengal, speaks next to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling during a press briefing at the ‘Uttarkanya’, or mini-secretariat, in Siliguri on Friday. Photo: AFP
Mamata Banerjee (L), chief minister of West Bengal, speaks next to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling during a press briefing at the ‘Uttarkanya’, or mini-secretariat, in Siliguri on Friday. Photo: AFP

Mamata Banerjee, Pawan Chamling meet to resolve differences between Bengal and Sikkim

Sikkim shall work for the development of Darjeeling, chief minister Pawan Chamling said while inviting Mamata Banerjee to visit his state

Kolkata: Differences are a thing of the past and Sikkim and West Bengal will co-operate with each other for development, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday, shortly after meeting her counterpart from Sikkim, Pawan Chamling.

The relationship between the two states had soured after Chamling backed the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal. On Friday, he, too, said the two states had resolved their differences and were looking to work for mutual benefit.

Sikkim shall work for the development of Darjeeling, Chamling said, while inviting Banerjee to visit his state. The West Bengal chief minister reciprocated, saying that Chamling will be invited to attend the next edition of the state’s annual business summit.

The development comes on a day the Supreme Court rejected fugitive Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung’s prayer for protection against arrest in various criminal cases started by the police in West Bengal.

Following the meeting of the chief ministers on Friday, it is to be seen if the administration of Sikkim co-operates in nabbing Gurung and other Gorkha leaders currently on the run, said Darjeeling district officials, asking not to be named.

The police in West Bengal are of the view that many of them are hiding in neighbouring Sikkim, and that the local administration is not keen to flush them out. West Bengal has formally alleged that Sikkim was harbouring criminals responsible for the unrest in Darjeeling last year.

Cops from the two states clashed over fugitive Gorkha leaders last year. Things came to a head when the Sikkim police brought charges of murder against a senior police officer from West Bengal after a raid ended with exchange of fire with Gorkha leaders.

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