CRPF personnel at the Kalimpong library on Thursday.
Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
Kalimpong, Feb. 25: A citizens’ forum here has demanded the immediate withdrawal of CRPF personnel from Kalimpong and sought their redeployment on NH31A as the presence of the central force is likely to be exploited by anti-Gorkhaland elements.
In a letter faxed to President Pratibha Patil today, the Citizens’ Rights Forum said the situation in the hills was not “potentially explosive” to justify the deployment of the CRPF.
The letter signed by forum president N.P. Dixit said the only purpose of deploying the CRPF in the region was to ensure free movement of vehicles on NH31A even during strikes in the hills in keeping with a Supreme Court order.
Of the two companies of the CRPF deployed in the subdivision, one has set up base at Reang, off NH31A near Rambi, about 30km from here, while the other is billeted at two places in town.
The forum feared that anti-Gorkhaland elements could exploit the presence of the CRPF in the urban areas by provoking them into “unpleasant and retaliatory actions”. This, the letter said, could only result in “chaos, disturbance and violence” all around. “We (therefore) urge you to recall them (the CRPF) from the towns of the hills and re-deploy them on the highway at the earliest.”
K. L. Tamta, the inspector-general, north Bengal, said the CRPF company camping in Kalimpong was meant to be stationed on the highway at Rangpo on the Sikkim border. “Because of lack of adequate accommodation there, they are being kept in Kalimpong. Once the accommodation is arranged, they will be shifted to Rangpo,” he said.