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Centre to withdraw forces from Darjeeling Hills, Mamata unhappy

Darjeeling : Chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her annoyance at the Union home ministry's decision to withdraw 13 companies of central paramilitary forces, 9 of which are deployed in Jhargram and 4 in Darjeeling. Speaking in the state Assembly, Mamata argued that Bengal's international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal require the presence of central forces and any unilateral decision by Centre can affect the status-quo by stretching the state police to the brink. The chief minister, sources said, has indicated to her MPs to take up the matter with North Block and home minister Rajnath Singh. Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay has already raised the issue in Lok Sabha and spoke to Singh on this. "We have requested the Union home minster to discuss it with chief minister Mamata Banerjee before taking a call. Withdrawal of forces now may have law and order implications," said Sudip, adding that Singh has promised to enquire into the details. 

Chided by an Opposition remark on her anxiousness over the issue if Jangalmahal is indeed smiling, Mamata said, "Is the CAPF meant only to sit in Delhi? Bengal's geography requires the presence of central forces. Many like CRPF, SSB, ITBP and BSF are here. Though law and order is a state subject, this is a federal government. Any unilateral withdrawal will have its bearing in the state," she said. Now, 40 companies of CAPF are deployed in West Mindapore, of which 15 companies are manning a 70 kilometre-border spread over 9 forests in four blocks of Jhargram. These 15 companies of central forces are stationed in 26 camps at Gopiballvpur 1 and 2, Jamboni and Binpur 2 blocks under Jhargram police district. Buddhadeb Das, CRPF DIG stationed at Jhargram, said, "We have received instruction that two companies of central forces will be withdrawn from Jhargram. I have no instruction about other forces."

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