The West Bengal government on Tuesday moved the Calcutta High Court for a stay on the withdrawal of central forces from the Darjeeling hills by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), ANI has reported. The court is scheduled to hear the matter at 2 pm.
On Sunday, the MHA had ordered the withdrawal of 10 of the 15 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) companies deployed in the hills, apparently to press them into duty in other places for the festival season. However, after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee raised objections and called up Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Centre decided to pull out only seven CAPF companies, sources had told The Indian Express.
Sources said that a furious Banerjee communicated to Singh that the situation in the hills remained volatile. “In a situation like this, how can the Centre take a decision to withdraw 10 company forces from the hills?” Banerjee had said while speaking to The Indian Express.
PTI had earlier quoted state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh as saying that that during his visit to the hills, he saw CRPF personnel were being used to give protection to IPS officers and guard the residence of rebel Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binoy Tamang.
The decision to pull out entral forces came two days after a police sub-inspector was killed in clash between a police raid team and alleged supporters of the GJM faction led by Bimal Gurung. The raid team was searching for Gurung.
While the Trinamool Congress alleged that the Centre’s support for Gurung led to the violence, the BJP blamed the TMC government. The BJP has also called for either the President’s rule or a complete withdrawal of forces from the state.