Days after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti raised concerns to the Central government over the China issue, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee too has raised a flag about the neighbouring country’s activities. As per Indian Express, the West Begal CM has discussed the issue in detail with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in at least five telephonic conversations. Mamata had also written to Singh last week where she clarified that the state government had never refused additional forces from the Centre to handle the Gorkhaland protests. The letter also stated the strategic importance of an area in the state known as ‘Chicken Neck’, which is a narrow stretch of land connecting northeastern states to the rest of the country.
Speaking to Indian Express, an official in the state Home Department said, “The area is very important geo-politically. It connects Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling hills, Northeast India and the rest of India. It will be a great cause of concern if China is found to be influencing the unrest in Darjeeling. In terms of the country’s foreign policy with these countries which border Bengal, the state government must be made a party by the Centre.”
This is not for the first time that TMC has raised concerns over China’s increasing interference in West Bengal, Even last week, referring to the issue indirectly, party general secretary and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee had said, “There has been support from foreign lands to the unrest in the hills, and we have definite proof of that.”
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Speaking about the controversy over Central forces, Mamata told The Indian Express, “There is no question of not taking forces from the Centre. The issue doesn’t pertain to just Bengal but the entire country. But when we speak of forces, we are given reasons such as that the forces are needed elsewhere.”
On June 16, Union Home Ministry sent two companies of the CRPF to the hills and two more are expected to arrive by June 17. Initially, the ministry sent six companies to Darjeeling and then an additional four.