The judiciary pumps more central forces to the burning hills of West Bengal

The Centre replied to Supreme Court during hearing of a related petition by the Sikkim government, stating that it would be done at the earliest.

Published: 14th July 2017 08:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2017 08:22 PM   |  A+A-

Members of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha during a strike in Darjeeling Hills on Tuesday | PTI

Express News Service

KOLKATA: Four more companies of central forces will be deployed in the troubled Darjeeling hills besides the already 11 companies as burning of public properties continued as the indefinite strike entered its 30th day on Friday.

Responding to a petition by the West Bengal government on Friday, the Calcutta High court ordered the Centre to deploy four companies of central forces in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts within 48 hours. The Centre replied to Supreme Court during hearing of a related petition by the Sikkim government, stating that it would be done at the earliest.

Rapping major political parties for their nonchalant attitude with regard to the Darjeeling imbroglio, the Calcutta High Court Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty asked the Centre to ensure peace in Darjeeling or else the court would take steps to restore normalcy in the troubled hills.

Terming the Darjeeling crisis as a political problem, the Calcutta High Court bench noted that rations of the hill residents are nearing an end and students are being forced to miss school. “Sufferings of common people can’t be tolerated because of political problems,” it stated.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court three-judge bench led by Justice Dipak Misra stated that along with the four companies, 15 companies of central forces have to be deployed in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts only and can’t be used by West Bengal to deal with other law and order problems. The apex court order for specific use might be issued in respect to the recent communal flare-up in Basirhat where 400 BSF jawans were deployed to restore peace.

Meanwhile, government offices and public properties continued to be burnt unabated on Thursday night. While a Railway Protection Force (RPF) office in Kurseong was set on fire at around 10.30 pm, a police check-post in Sukhiapokhri near the Indo-Nepal international border was gutted at around 11.15 pm.

A century-old government library in Mirik, that boasted rare books, was torched at around 2.30 am and a forest department guest house at Maneybhanjang was gutted at around 1.30 am.

On the other hand, responding to call of Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) to quit their posts by 4 pm on July 14, chairmen of the Sarki Development Board and Khas Development Board resigned on Friday.

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