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Govt orders withdrawal of 1,000 paramilitary personnel from Darjeeling

Seven companies of the CRPF, including three women companies, and three companies of the SSB are being withdrawn from Monday.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2017 23:29 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Darjeeling,Gorkhaland,GJM
Paramilitary forces stand guard at the main market area during the 83th day of an indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for separate state Gorkhaland in Kalimpong on September 3, 2017. (AFP File Photo)

In a decision that may stoke a major political controversy in Bengal, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has notified the state government that it will withdraw two third of the central forces from the Darjeeling hills from Monday and the rest by October 20.

According to the MHA notice sent to the state government on Sunday, seven companies of CRPF and three companies of SSB personnel will stand withdrawn from October 16. The remaining 5 companies CRPF will continue in the Hills to aid the police force till October 20.

While no reaction from the state government and the ruling party, Trinamool Congress, was available till filing this report, sources claimed that the state government has written to the centre expressing its objections.

In June, with the beginning of fresh unrest in the Darjeeling hills for a separate state of Gorkhaland, 12 companies CRPF and 3 companies SSB were requisitioned by the state government.

This decision is likely to have political implications, as Trinamool Congress is expected to launch a campaign against BJP accusing it of fuelling the Gorkhaland movement that wants to split Bengal.

BJP, on the one hand, is an ally of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha - the leading agitating party in the hills - while on the other it can not afford to be seen in the rest of Bengal as pro-Gorkhaland. Darjeeling has only one Lok Sabha seat, presently having a BJP MP, but the rest of Bengal has 41 parliamentary constituencies.

First Published: Oct 15, 2017 21:10 IST