Bengal govt, Centre at loggerheads over violence in Darjeeling

Bengal govt, Centre at loggerheads over violence in Darjeeling

Bengal govt, Centre at loggerheads over violence in Darjeeling
The West Bengal government appears to be intensifying its confrontation with the Centre by not sending a report on the Darjeeling situation, amid doubts that the BJP is fuelling the protests.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has also made it clear that it would not deploy additional forces in the violence-hit hill district till the state sends its report to the Centre on the situation unfolding there.

Sources said the MHA had not received the report till Saturday evening. This comes even as fresh violence was reported from Darjeeling, where a civilian was killed and an India Reserve Battalion assistant commandant was wounded following widespread clashes between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists and the police.

The security establishment is keenly watching the unfolding situation following the protests that erupted over the state government’s announcement that Bengali would be made mandatory in schools in the hill district.

Later, the West Bengal government clarified that there are no such plans. GJM activists have been spearheading the agitation, demanding a separate Gorkhaland state, since June 8.

The MHA had already rushed 1,000 paramilitary personnel to the state and have sanctioned an additional 400 troopers.  However, this group of 400 have not been deployed, with the Centre insisting that the state should first send its report.

Meanwhile, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal believed that the BJP is fomenting trouble in the hill district. Sources said the feeling in the Trinamool Congress is that the BJP is helping its ally GJM, despite the state government making it clear that they would not impose Bengali in the curriculum.

Amid the protests, Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently received a representation from Minister of State for Agriculture S S Ahluwalia, the BJP MP from Darjeeling, requesting him to constitute a panel to look into the “merits and demerits of the long-pending demand of the Gorkhas, the adivasis and others”.