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High Court stays removal of central forces from Darjeeling

In a development that could worsen relations between the center and the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court has stayed the center’s decision to pull out central forces from the north Bengal hills. The situation in this area has still not been normalized and the West Bengal government said that removal of central forces could again create even more chaos and violence. The court has temporary suspended the center’s decision to pull out central forces and said that the forces will remain deployed till the next hearing in the case, which will take pace after the end of the court’s vacation. This implies that around 20 companies of the Central Reserve Police (CRPF) Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will remain posted in Darjeeling. The decision was taken by Judge Harish Tandon.

After the center had announced that central forces will be removed, the West Bengal government had protested the move and termed it politically motivated. Reacting to the center’s decision, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said, “The decision was unfortunate, unethical, undemocratic and unconstitutional”. However, the central government had clarified that the central forces are needed to conduct elections in Himachal Pradesh. The Bengal government filed a petition in the high court, after which the court stayed the center’s decision. The court said that the center could not provide any solid reason for pulling out the central forces.

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