THE STATE government on Tuesday welcomed the Calcutta High Court’s decision to put an interim stay on the withdrawal of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from Darjeeling Hills. “Earlier, the court had issued an order to deploy additional forces in Darjeeling Hills, keeping in view the situation in there. However, the Centre had decided to withdraw substantial number of forces from the Hills, keeping the political interest of a party in mind. It was unjustified and uncalled for. We welcome the order passed by the Calcutta High Court. It also proved that the Centre is not taking right steps when it comes to the Hills,” state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said.
Sources in the state secretariat Nabanna said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has hailed the order. Reacting to the high court order, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had given a statement that peace has returned to the Hills. Yesterday, state director general of police also said that Darjeeling is peaceful. So, the situation in Darjeeling has changed and that is why the Centre felt that there was no need to keep such a large number of central forces in the Hills.”
“I believe the Centre will file its report to the high court… We hope that court will look into it before passing a verdict,” he added. On Sunday, the Union Ministry Home Affairs had ordered the withdrawal of 10 of the 15 CAPF companies deployed in the Hills. After Mamata raised objections and called up Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Centre decided to pull out only seven companies.
On Monday, the chief minister had slammed the Centre and the BJP for trying to “divide and destabilise Bengal” while described the decision as “undemocratic, unfortunate and politically-motivated”.