Force pullout insult: CM

Mamata writes to Modi and Rajnath

By Our Special Correspondent in Calcutta
  • Published 17.10.17
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Mamata at the meeting with her cabinet colleagues and hill party leaders. (Shyamal Maitra)

Calcutta: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the BJP on Monday for "plotting a conspiracy" against Bengal by deciding to withdraw central forces at a time the state was trying to restore peace in the hills, terming the move "a big insult".

"Bengal is being discriminated against because we are fighting the BJP. This is a big insult," Mamata said at Nabanna after a meeting with almost all major political parties from the hills. "This is undemocratic and unconstitutional."

The Centre had on Sunday informed the Bengal government its intention to withdraw some companies of the CRPF from the hills, a move that invited strong reaction from the chief minister.

Mamata said on Monday that she had called up Union home minister Rajnath Singh, following which the number of companies to be withdrawn from the hills was scaled down.

"It seems the decision was not taken by the Centre but by the BJP, which is plotting a conspiracy. The decision to withdraw the forces comes at a time normality is slowly returning to Darjeeling. A BJP leader had visited the hills. My doubt is this decision was taken only after getting a report about this leader's visit," Mamata said.

The chief minister was referring to the three-day tour of Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh to Darjeeling on October 5, when he was chased and heckled by some youths.

Mamata pointed out that the forces were withdrawn at a time the police had recovered a huge cache of arms, including AK47s, during a raid on camps allegedly housing Bimal Gurung's aides.

"I wrote to the Prime Minister and the Union home minister today, protesting the withdrawal of forces. If anything happens now, the Centre will be held responsible," Mamata said. "I hope to get justice from the Prime Minister."

Sources said the letters focused on four points - the withdrawal of the strike does not mean normality has returned; forces help in building confidence among the people; peace should not be hampered in the region, which needs a lot of development work in the absence of any project in the past four months and forces are needed to help government offices become functional again.

Mamata also laid down a list of the number of central force companies that had been deployed in other states to drive home her point that Bengal was being discriminated against.

She also blamed the Union minister of state and BJP MP from Darjeeling, S.S. Ahluwalia, for fomenting trouble .

"We have enough evidence against him. It seems they (the BJP) are desperate to get one seat from Darjeeling," Mamata said.

Bengal BJP chief Ghosh advocated complete withdrawal of central forces. "She claims everybody in the hills and Jungle Mahal is smiling. Why does she need central forces?"