Darjeeling crisis: Mamata vindicated as Calcutta HC stays forces' removal
The Calcutta HC put a stay on the Centre's decision of pulling out 10 of 15 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) deployed in strife-torn Darjeeling. WB CM Mamata Banerjee had earlier locked horns with the home ministry over the removal of forces calling it a decision "contrary to common sense." She had written "strong letters" to the centre advising against troop withdrawal.
The Darjeeling unrest began in June after Mamata's diktat that Bengali will be made compulsory in WB's schools. Though she clarified that for schools under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) council it will be optional, the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM) latched onto the issue and revived the Gorkhaland statehood demand. However, after the Centre intervened, the indefinite strike lasting 104 days was called off.
A few days back, a police sub-inspector was killed and several others injured as clashes erupted between police and GJM supporters after police raided the area to arrest absconding GJM chief Bimal Gurung. This incident happened after a considerable lull. Gurung and few party leaders have been absconding after state authorities filed cases against them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The latest centre-state impasse occurred after the centre decided to withdraw seven companies of the CRPF and three of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) from Darjeeling and Kalimpong to deploy them to other areas, owing to the festive season. However, Mamata accused the centre of taking a unilateral decision without consulting the state. She said this was "politically and administratively a bad decision."
After the Calcutta HC's stay on withdrawing troops, the centre will file an affidavit in the court by October 23 and the state government will respond to it on October 26. The case's next hearing will be on October 27.
Meanwhile, Mamata has accused the BJP of colluding with GJM leadership and talking to those who have cases against them under UAPA, instead of those who are "genuinely trying to restore peace." She said that the BJP-led centre wants to destabilize WB and divide it so that they can win one LS seat from Darjeeling. Mamata claimed that "one BJP leader is directly involved."