Darjeeling protests: HC tells Centre to send more troops

Henrietta Strickland
July 15, 2017

Additional troops will be send to Kalimpong and Darjeeling which have seen agitations for a separate Gorkhaland.

Summary: The High Court also directed the State government to provide additional forces from its own resources to bring back normalcy. Several government buildings have been burnt down and hydel power projects shut down as the violence, which started in the second week of June, has claimed several lives.

The government told a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that 11 CRPF companies are already deployed in Darjeeling and Kalimpong and they have chose to send four more companies to ensure the safety of citizens and to maintain law and order there.

"The present situation in the hills is very grave", the state said in an affidavit submitted in response to a PIL filed before the bench of the chief justice. Political parties paid little heed to the plight of the people, Justice Mhatre said. "Mr Yechury said he also enclosed two letters from a former Member of Parliament belonging to Darjeeling, Saman Pathak, that gave accounts of hardship that the people in the region were facing". Schools have been closed. Children are being forced to leave their schools. "If the Centre and state are not serious., if they fail to maintain law and order, the court will intervene".

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it was deploying four additional companies of CRPF to maintain law and order in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which have been hit by the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland. The petition sought a direction to the Centre and state government to ensure safety of vehicles on NH-10, saying that about 20 trucks ferrying supplies to Sikkim were vandalised and their drivers attacked by pro-Gorkhaland activists.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently said the Centre was to blame for the unrest in Darjeeling and North 24 Parganas because it could not secure global borders. He said West Bengal needed more central paramilitary forces because of "huge vacancies" in the state police.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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