The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the central government to withdraw seven companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) from Darjeeling in West Bengal, news agency PTI reported. The court ruled on a petition filed by the union government challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order staying the partial withdrawal of CAPF from Darjeeling.
The Centre argued that they needed the troops for deployment at poll-bound states of Himachal and Gujarat. The Centre also said that the internal security situation of the country cannot be ignored before taking any decision of troop deployment to states.
The West Bengal government had requested the Centre to provide security during the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha statehood agitation in Darjeeling, which lasted for over a 100 days. Complying with the request, three companies of both the CRPF and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) were sent. The number of troops on the ground increased and a total of 12 CRPF and three SSB companies are positioned in the state as of now.
After the GJM strike ended nearly 104 days later, the union home ministry decided to withdraw 10 of its 15 CAPF troops from the region. But Mamata Banerjee objected as she felt that the situation in Darjeeling was still volatile. The home ministry changed its decision and asked for withdrawal of only seven companies.
The TMC government still felt that the region was not completely under control and so it filed a plea with the Calcutta High Court, the court on October 17 decided to stay the withdrawal of troops in the region.
Home minister Rajnath Singh said CAPFs had more pressing commitments like guarding borders, fighting insurgency and anti-national operations and asked state governments to set up a committee for examining requirements of central forces.