In an apparent showdown, the Centre today held back additional paramilitary forces who were supposed to be sent to Darjeeling, till the West Bengal government sends a report on the situation in the violence-hit hill district. The 400 additional personnel, whom the home ministry had yesterday decided to send to Darjeeling on a request from the state government, will not be dispatched immediately. “We will take a decision on sending additional paramilitary forces only when we make an assessment of the prevailing situation in Darjeeling. It is possible only when we receive a report from the state government, which has not sent it yet,” a home ministry spokesperson said.
On June 13, the central government had sought a report from the West Bengal government on the situation in Darjeeling which has seen violence in last one week after the state government announced that Bengali would be made mandatory in schools in hill district. The state government is yet to send a report on the prevailing situation in Darjeeling which has witnessed violence in the last few days. Around 1,000 central paramilitary personnel, including 200 women, have already been deployed in Darjeeling.
Stray incidents of violence were reported from Darjeeling and nearby areas and six suspected Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters detained on the second day of the shutdown called by the outfit. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri accompanied by BJP MP from Darjeeling S S Ahluwalia had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday and sought the Centre’s intervention to restore peace in the hill district and “foil” West Bengal government’s attempt to make Bengali language mandatory in schools. The GJM, an ally of the Centre’s ruling NDA, has intensified its agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state.