New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside Calcutta High Court’s earlier order on the deployment of additional Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) in Darjeeling and Kalimpong areas of West Bengal, over the Gorkhaland protests.
The forces have been deployed in the region since the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland State in July turned violent. The protests were led by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which had begun fresh agitation demanding a separate state for the Gorkha people.
In October 2017, the Centre had decided to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of paramilitary forces, comprising 1,000 troopers, from the region, as it wanted to deploy them at other places during the festival season.
The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had moved the Calcutta High Court, asking for a stay on the order. The state government reasoned that the situation had still not become completely normal and therefore forces were required to maintain law and order in the Hills.
The High Court agreed to the request of the West Bengal government and had stayed the withdrawal of central security forces from the region. In November 2017, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to withdraw up to four companies of paramilitary forces. The Home Ministry had contended that the state police must take over as the situation was now very much under control.
It had also argued that the judiciary cannot dictate where central forces could be deployed. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered Attorney General KK Venugopal’s submission that the deployment of the central armed forces fell under the Central government’s administrative domain. The Supreme Court said the four companies will be deployed till March 8