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24 Jun 2017

Gorkhaland Cause: Centre's no to plea for more forces

TNN |  Jun 24, 2017, KOLKATA/DARJEELING: The Centre on Thursday denied the state's request for four additional companies of central paramilitary forces for deployment in Darjeeling, on the grounds that it would reignite tension in the already troubled area.
The ministry of home affairs, citing central intelligence inputs, has told the state police that augmenting the 11 companies of central forces in Darjeeling, in addition to the six Army columns, would only fan restiveness. The report also cites that Hills parties have put the withdrawal of armed forces from Darjeeling as an immediate condition for dialogue with the Centre and state.
The ruling Trinamool sniffed political overtones behind the move. In Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, where five persons were killed in violence during a protest by farmers demanding debt relief and better crop prices, the Centre had overnight airlifted six companies of central paramilitary forces from Jaipur and Neemuch in MP itself, pointed out a senior leader, refusing to be named since he is not part of the state government. State tourism minister Gautam Deb asked BJP to shed its ambiguity and come clean on the issue of a separate Gorkhaland state.
Sources said seven companies of central forces had been posted in Darjeeling, before the trouble broke out. Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls, the Centre had withdrawn four companies. They were never sent back. After the June 8 incident, the Centre, responding to an SOS from the state, rushed in seven companies of central forces to Darjeeling district. The Army, too, responded by dispatching six columns. A few days later, another company of central forces posted in Alipurduar was also asked to head to Darjeeling. Army sources said three columns are stationed in Darjeeling - two in Kalimpong and one in Kurseong.

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