Centre to withdraw troops from Darjeeling; Mamata objects

SansadTV Bureau
File Photo: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supporters shout slogans at a protest in Kurseong during their Darjeeling bandh, June, 2017. Phoro - PTI

File Photo: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supporters shout slogans at a protest in Kurseong during their Darjeeling bandh, June, 2017.
Phoro – PTI

The home ministry has ordered withdrawal of as many as 1,000 paramilitary personnel, including 300 women, deployed in Darjeeling, which had few months ago seen violence and protest during the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state.

According to reports, the West Bengal government have protested the Centre’s sudden decision to pullout forces within two days.

Earlier, in a communication, the ministry said seven companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), including three women companies, and three companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel would be withdrawn from Darjeeling from Monday.

The paramilitary personnel were in deployment in the hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, an official said. Five additional companies of the CRPF will be in the hills to assist the state police force.

The situation in Darjeeling has improved in the past few weeks.

File Photo: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

File Photo: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Mamata Banerjee government had last month formed a nine-member board of administrators, headed by Binay Tamang, instead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) to look into the development works in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

In a related development, Binay Tamang on Sunday met West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi requesting him to talk to the Centre to initiate tripartite talks to solve the impasse.

“We have told him that we are willing to talk to the Centre on the Darjeeling issue. The Centre must intervene as soon as possible and call us for talks on all the pending issues, including Gorkhaland,” he said.

“We have also apprised the governor that since 2015 there had been no tripartite talks involving the GTA,” Binay Tamang added.

Describing the location of Darjeeling as “strategic” owing to its international borders with Nepal and Bhutan, Tamang said discussions should be held quickly keeping in mind the sensitivity of the place.

(With inputs from PTI)