Darjeeling witnessing violent insurgency, Maoists from 'neighbouring' country, Bengal govt tells HC

Goutam Deb

The agitators set aflame a Railway Protection Force (RPF) office in Kurseong and a police outpost in Sukhiapokhri in the wee hours today, the police said. Barring medicine outlets, all shops, schools, colleges have remained closed with internet services too straying suspended for the 27th day today.

The Army continues to be deployed in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sonada. The picturesque hill station had earlier witnessed a 40-day bandh in 1988 and a 44-day shutdown in 2013.

The Supreme Court order, from a bench of justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shanatanagoudar, said the deployment of four more CRPF companies was required to maintain law and order and to remove a blockade from NH-10 connecting Sikkim to Bengal.

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In the wake of the ongoing unrest in Darjeeling and Kalimpong following the West Bengal government's decision to make "Bengali" language compulsory, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to convene a tripartite meeting of the central and state government representatives, along with those from the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

The Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court had directed the Centre to send 4 more companies of paramilitary force to Darjeeling within 48 hrs.

The Calcutta HC order, which called the current situation "purely political" and took parties to task for not heeding people's plight, also asked the state government to deploy additional forces to rein in the spiralling violence. The Centre had already sent seven companies of paramilitary forces, including three companies of women CRPF personnel, and three of theSSB, to the hills augmenting the three already present there. "We have made a decision to postpone the programme of fast-unto- death as presidential elections are nearby".

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