NEW DELHI, India, Jan. 25 Reuter: Talks aimed at settling a two year conflict in the Himalayan foothills in which more than 200 people have died opened on Monday with Gurkha leader Subhas Ghising confident of success.

Home Minister Buta Singh summoned Ghising and the West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to New Delhi in an effort to break a deadlock over demands for Gurkha autonomy.

Ghising’s Gurkha National Liberation Force (GNLF), is fighting for autonomy for the Nepali speaking Gurkhas in the tea growing hills around Darjeeling.

GNLF demands for their own state have been firmly rejected by the Central and West Bengal governments, while previous talks over the offer of an autonomous hill council bogged down over Ghising’s insistence on it controlling a bigger area.

Before leaving Darjeeling at the weekend, Ghising reiterated his demands, but added: “I hope this will be the final round of talks between us and the government of India. I am 99 per cent sure we will reach an agreement.”

Article extracted from this publication >> January 29, 1988