Darjeeling : SC Allowed Centre To Withdraw CRPF

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Darjeeling: Supreme Court allowed Centre to withdraw seven of the 15 companies of CRPF from Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the Centre’s plea challenging the Calcutta High Court order on withdrawal of security forces from Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer said the matter will be listed on October 27.

Appearing for the Centre, advocate Wasim Qadri said the Calcutta High Court had on October 17 stayed the withdrawal of security forces from the disturbed areas of Darjeeling and Kalimpong. He said the Centre needs to deploy forces in the poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Some forces also need to be deployed along the borders of Jammu and Kashmir and in the north-eastern states, he added. The Calcutta High Court had stayed the withdrawal of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) from the Darjeeling hills, the scene of unrest over the statehood demand, till October 27 after the state government approached it against the Centre’s decision.

The high court had on July 14 directed the Centre to deploy four more companies of CAPF in addition to the 11 that was already present in the hills then. The West Bengal government had written to the Centre seeking extended deployment of CAPF till December 25, but was told that of the 15 companies present, 10 would be withdrawn on October 15 and the rest by October 20.

The state was later informed by the Centre that three companies of women CRPF personnel of the 10 proposed to be withdrawn on October 15 would stay there till October 20, he said.
The counsel for the central government had claimed that the situation in the Darjeeling hills had improved compared to July when the order on deployment of paramilitary contingents had been passed by the high court.

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