The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday put a stay on the removal of central forces from Darjeeling, news agency ANI reported, directing the Centre to file an affidavit in the matter by October 23. The state has been ordered to file its reply on October 26. The case will be heard next on October 27.
The state government had earlier in the day moved the court after the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered pulling out of 10 of the 15 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) companies deployed in the hills, apparently to press them on duties in other cities for the festival season.
However, after the decision that came Sunday was objected to by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Centre decided to pull out seven CAPF companies, sources had told The Indian Express. “In a situation like this, how can the Centre take a decision to withdraw 10 company forces from the hills?” Banerjee had said while speaking to The Indian Express.
The orders of the withdrawal of central forces currently present in the hills came two days after a police sub-inspector was killed in clash between a police raid team and alleged supporters of the GJM party chief Bimal Gurung. Gurung and few GMJ leaders are hiding since the state authorities slapped a number of cases against them including under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Abdul Mannan backing Mamata Banerjee’s objection on withdrawal of central forces on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leader said that withdrawal of central forces from Darjeeling hills will put the state government in ‘disadvantageous position’.