The growing rift between the BJP ruled centre and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is getting evident each and every day with the host of issues wreaking a havoc on the TMC government putting her administrative role at stake. Though incidents of political violence and minority appeasement remain one of the key reasons of the Centre’s wrath over the West Bengal government, it’s the growing tension in Darjeeling which has soured the BJP’s relations with Mamata Banerjee.
The Darjeeling situation bombed into a further mess after the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs )on Sunday announced the withdrawal of 10 of the 15 Central Armed Police Forces companies deployed in Darjeeling hills. To this when a baffled Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called upon Home Minister Rajnath Singh and queried on the decision taken, the Centre revised its stance and decided to pull out only seven CAPF companies.
“The matter has been considered in this Ministry and it has been decided that out of 15 Coys of CAPFs… deployed in Darjeeling/ Kalimpong in West Bengal, 10 Coys of CAPFs (CRPF 07, including 03 Mahila Coys, and SSB 03) shall be de-attached with effect from 16.10.2017,” said the MHA’s communication to the West Bengal Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and DGP.
All these developments are happening amid the Darjeeling crisis yet to reach a concrete solution over its goal to acquire an independent Gorkhaland.
On Monday afternoon Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met leaders of GJM led by Binay Tamang also the head of GTA, to discuss the situation in the hills and bring back normalcy after a 104 days shutdown since June this year. While the Binay Tamang faction is backed by Mamata Banerjee, the absconding GJM leader Bimal Gurung who is wanted for charges of murder, arson and sedition is backed by the centre and firmly believes that only the centre can fulfil the demands of a separate Gorkhaland.
In reaction to the centre’s decision to pull out security forces from Darjeeling Chief Minister contended that the BJP is all out to hatch a conspiracy against the TMC in West Bengal. She called the Centre’s decision to withdraw forces “undemocratic” and “politically motivated” with the intention to destabilize Bengal.
She referred to the Centre’s decision as insensitive and a huge insult to the sentiment of the hill people, who invested their hopes on a BJP MP who won from Darjeeling with the promise of lending a separate Gorkhaland which failed to materialize as he back footed.
She hit back at the Centre’s decision saying, “Why did the Centre take such a decision when a West Bengal police officer was killed and arms and ammunition were recovered from Darjeeling hills? Who took this decision…the Centre or the BJP? BJP is trying to create unrest in the hills and a BJP minister is directly involved in this,” she said.
A senior TMC MP said that the state will be exploring legal options to the Centre’s foreword as it’s in complete violation to the orders given by the Calcutta high court and the Supreme Court on 14th July citing the increase in deployment of central forces in Darjeeling from 11 to 15. But the Centre’s decision of removal of CRPF forces from Darjeeling gives the HC a ground to appeal for contempt of court if both the state and the central government failed to maintain the law and order in the hills.
Meanwhile, state BJP President came out launching fresh attacks on Mamata Banerjee calling her meeting with the GJM leaders a “drama”. He firmly believes that there is no necessity of Central forces in Darjeeling as the police are capable of handling the situation.
“There is no protection in hills for anyone, even for an MLA. The central force is made to do inhuman work and it should be withdrawn as early as possible,” said Ghosh.
Mamata Banerjee asserted her position saying she won’t crumble under the centre’s plan to divide Bengal and vowed to fight all the insurgent groups and foreign powers involved in this conspiracy.