THE SUPREME Court on Friday will hear a petition filed by the Union government challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order staying partial withdrawal of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal.
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer, before whom the matter was mentioned, agreed to take it up on Friday after advocate Wasim Qadri, appearing for the Centre, said that the matter required urgent hearing, as these troops are required for redeployment in election-bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
They are also needed for internal security in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist-infested areas, Qadri argued.
Acting on the state government’s request, the Centre had allotted three companies each of the CRPF and the Sashastra Seema Bal to maintain law and order in Darjeeling hills on June 11. This came in the wake of an agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) demanding statehood.
The number of troops on ground was increased from time to time, taking it to a total of 15 companies — 12 CRPF and three SSB companies.
After the GJM called off its agitation, the Union Home Ministry concluded that the situation was now capable of being controlled by the state police and decided to pull out seven companies. However, on a plea from the state, the High Court on October 27 stayed this.
Questioning the stay order, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it receives requests from various states and endeavours to extend support to them. However, the internal security situation cannot be ignored before taking any decision of deployment to states, it said.