Centre's ploy to maintain unrest in Darjeeling: Mamata
Kolkata: Extremely angry over the Centre deciding to withdraw a substantial section of the central forces deployed in the Darjeeling Hills, which has been in a state of lockdown since June this year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday shot off "strong letters" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Rajnath Singh demanding the BJP-led government reverse its stand.
She also accused the Centre and the BJP of hatching a conspiracy. "They are conspiring to destabilise Bengal so that violence keeps on occurring," she said.
Later, the Centre allowed continued deployment of 800 paramilitary personnel in Darjeeling to maintain law and order.
"Earlier, they had decided to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of central forces deployed in Darjeeling. Now, after I spoke to Rajnathji... because I consider him a good man, he told me they will withdraw seven companies. But still, eight companies is inadequate," Banerjee told media persons here after holding a meeting with some of the political parties of the Hills.
Criticising the move, she said that "the Union government is being run from the BJP party office" and the Central minister from Darjeeling is behind all the trouble.
"Does the Centre not want peace in Darjeeling? There's no contact with the federal structure. It's a political game plan, a conspiracy by the BJP to divide Bengal," the Chief Minister said after completing the third all-party meet between the state government and Hill parties at the state Secretariat in Kolkata.
She further stated: "The step has been taken after a report of the BJP MP. An important officer of our force was killed." She also said that some bordering countries as also insurgent groups from the North-east were colluding with the troublemakers in Darjeeling.
Reading out from the letters, Banerjee said: "I said it was an unfortunate fact, in the present circumstances what you have done is not right. We don't want any company should be withdrawn from there."
Referring to a July 14 Calcutta High Court directive asking the Central government to provide adequate central forces till the restoration of peace in the northern Hills, she said: "This is a very unfortunate thing that the honourable High Court's order has been violated."
Banerjee told the media that the Centre has sent out a wrong message to the state government.
"So as Chief Minister, I have written a strong letter to them... I request the Centre to see the issue not from a narrow political angle, but they must see the issue broad-heartedly, see it as an important and sensitive issue," she said.
The Chief Minister called the Centre's decision "unethical, unconstitutional, undemocratic, and contrary to the federal structure."
Banerjee also warned that if "anything happens" in Darjeeling, the Central government will be held responsible.