SC allows Centre to withdraw more forces from Darjeeling, Kalimpong

SC allows Centre to withdraw more forces from Darjeeling, Kalimpong

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Centre to move four of the remaining eight companies of paramilitary forces from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, deployed there since June following large-scale agitation for a separate Gorkhaland.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra allowed a plea made by Attorney General K K Venugopal as he submitted that the Centre was alive to the situation and the agitation was no more there.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Rakesh Dwivedi and Kalyan Banerjee, representing West Bengal, opposed the plea, contending that the Union government wanted forces for election duties in Himachal Pradesh but polls were already over. They said "the situation would become even worse over there".

The court, however, said the four companies would still be there and the Centre would take the situation into consideration.

On October 27, the court had allowed the Centre to withdraw seven of the 15 companies of paramilitary forces from the region. It had overturned the interim order passed by the Calcutta High Court on October 17 that had stayed the decision for re-deployment of forces for election duties in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

The bench had earlier wondered if it was for the court to ask the central government for deployment or withdrawal of forces from a particular area.

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