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Darjeeling witnessing violent insurgency, Maoists from ‘neighbouring’ country, Bengal govt tells HC

Maoists from a neighbouring country have infiltrated into the area and are going to target government officials working in the hills, the state said in an affidavit.

kolkata Updated: Jul 14, 2017 22:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Women supporters of Gorkhaland movement chant slogans holding broomsticks at Sukna village in Darjeeling district on the outskirts of Siliguri on Friday.(AFP)

The ongoing unrest in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts was not a “mere day-to-day law and order issue but a bigger problem arising out of an insurgency and violent agitation”, the West Bengal government told the Calcutta high court on Friday.

“The present situation in the hills is very grave,” the state said in an affidavit submitted in response to a PIL filed before the bench of the chief justice.

“Maoists from a neighbouring country have infiltrated into the area and are going to target government officials working in the hills,” the state government said, referring to intelligence inputs and stressed on the need for additional deployment of central forces.

Though the Bengal government did not name any country, it is no secret that Maoists have a presence in Nepal. In fact, chief minister Mamata Banerjee too had earlier talked about “foreign connections” of the Gorkhaland agitators.

ADGP (law & order), Anuj Sharma, who filed the report on behalf of the government, said “miscreants with the help of conspirators are attacking police personnel, using bombs and firearms”.

He said the state government could not deploy any additional police as it had done to the maximum, and sought central armed police force for assistance.

Sharma, however, said that central forces posted in Left-wing extremist (LWE) affected areas of Bengal should not be shifted to the hills, arguing that Maoists from Jharkhand are trying to re-group in the erstwhile LWE affected areas in Bengal.

The government submitted a summary of losses, estimated to be Rs 355 crore, incurred because of the agitation since June 15.

So far, 54 vehicles and 73 government buildings and other properties have been destroyed or damaged and 93 tea gardens have been forced to suspend operations.

“In addition, 53 law enforcement and government personnel have been injured,” the report said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 22:00 IST