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SC allows withdrawal of 4 companies of security forces from N. Bengal

The Supreme Court on Monday permitted the Centre to withdraw upto four companies of the central security forces from the trouble-torn areas of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud allowed the withdrawal as Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the situation in these districts was under control.

Venugopal also told the court that there was free movement of traffic and goods, including fuel on the highway going to Sikkim.

In fact the Centre wanted to withdraw all the central security forces from the trouble-torn areas of the state facing agitation for a separate Gorkha State.

As the plea was opposed by the West Bengal government, the Centre told the bench that the central government alone could decide on the deployment or withdrawal of security forces depending on the assessment of the ground situation.

Earlier the court had permitted the Centre to withdraw seven companies of its security forces for deployment in then election-bound Himachal Pradesh and other areas.

The court on Monday was told by the West Bengal government that since elections in Himachal Pradesh were over, there was no requirement for withdrawing the security forces from Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

The Centre has moved the top court challenging a Calcutta High court verdict setting aside the central government’s order for withdrawing the security forces from the trouble-torn districts facing the Gorkha agitation.