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Mamata bitterly against withdrawing central forces from Darjeeling Hills

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 16 October 2017, 21:59 IST
(Sonali Pal Chaudhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

After the CRPF was withdrawn from the hills in Bengal without informing the state government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the matter up with the Centre. Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Addressing the media after an all-party meeting at Nabanna, Banerjee said –

“I hope I will get help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this regard. How can they withdraw all the central forces from the hills without informing the state government? I will personally speak to Rajnath Ji about this matter.”

“Moreover, the Centre has violated the Calcutta High Court's order. The court had ordered the Center not to withdraw forces until normalcy has been restored in the hills. It’s a unilateral decision taken by the Centre and we condemn such unilateral decisions,” she added.

According to Banerjee, the Centre has not withdrawn central forces from any other states and they are only trying to deprive West Bengal.

“It’s a political move made by the Centre so that violence still continues in the hills of Bengal,” Banerjee added.

Banerjee also accused the Centre of being in a nexus with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung and spreading violence in the hills and disrupting normalcy.

“We have got definite information and proof that one BJP Lok Sabha member, who is also a central minister, is deliberately trying to continue the turbulence in the hills so that BJP’s victory from that constituency is ensured. It’s a political game plan and a conspiracy to divide Bengal,” Banerjee said.

“A huge cache of arms and ammunition has been retrieved from Gurung’s den, and we have got information that Gurung has links with north-eastern insurgency groups and they are providing arms to them. But still, the Centre is trying to shield them. The BJP is trying hard to disturb the chicken neck, ie Siliguri and Darjeeling corridor, so that violence continues in the hills,” she added.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) the letter sent to the Bengal state government informs that seven companies of the CRPF and three companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel will be withdrawn from the hills from 16 October. The remaining five CRPF forces will aid the state police force till 20 October and after that, they will also be withdrawn.

Banerjee said that the Centre was supposed to provide 20 companies of CRPF, but they have already withdrawn seven companies till now. Banerjee also pointed out that in small states like Bihar the Centre has not withdrawn any forces.

On 21 November Banerjee is scheduled to convene a meeting with all the hill parties at Pintel Village in Darjeeling district. The Jan Andolon Party did not join the third all-party meeting that was held on Monday.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri, leader of Jan Andolon Party said –

“We won’t join any other meeting convened by the state government further as we feel that the real issue has been diverted. The state government now only looks for the welfare of Binoy Tamang without looking at the demands of all the hill parties.”

“On 29 September the first all-party meeting was held and there we have decided that our demand for Gorkhaland will continue, but after that, we saw that Tamang has been made the chairman of the board to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and we are unaware of such developments. State government should have taken a unanimous decision by consulting all the hill parties before taking such a major decision. We feel that our relevance has been lost as state government does not bother to inform us when they take a major decision,” Chhetri added.

“The Union government has totally transformed into a BJP party office. Dal mein kuch kala hain. If the Centre wants to hold a tripartite meeting, they should speak with the state government, instead of speaking with an accused GJM leader Bimal Gurung. This proves that the Centre is trying to shield the accused leader to create disturbance in the hills at a time when the state government is trying to bring back normalcy,” Banerjee said.

The BJP criticised Banerjee and said that the Centre would not tolerate such double standards.

“Banerjee herself has said that she has been able to bring peace in the hills. So why will the central government help her in giving central forces? We won’t support such double standards. Banerjee herself is responsible for creating such violence in Darjeeling and now as the situation has aggravated and so she needs our help,” Dilip Ghosh state BJP president said.

First published: 16 October 2017, 21:59 IST
 
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