New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court
today that it was willing to provide additional paramilitary
forces to West Bengal to prevent the frequent blockade of the
national highway 31A, the economic lifeline of Sikkim, by pro
and anti Gorkhaland agitators.
Appearing for the Centre, counsel Wasim Ahmed Quadri,
however, told the apex court that since law and order was a
state subject, it was for West Bengal government to persuade
the agitating leaders against laying siege to the highway.
"We have already provided three companies of the CRPF and
are willing to provide additional forces, if required. But
since law and order is a state subject, the problem can be
taken up adequately only by the state of West Bengal by
persuading the heads of the agitating groups," Quadri said.
A three-judge bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, Mukundakam
Sharma and A K Patnaik, later adjourned the matter for further
hearing to July 19.
The apex court had earlier issued contempt notices to
three top pro and anti-Gorkhaland agitators for frequent
blockade of the national highway.
It had also sought a response of the Union Government,
the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary of West Bengal on
the petition of O P Bhandari, a social activist, to know what
steps are being taken to prevent recurrence of such blockades.
The contempt notices were issued to Bimal Gurung,
President of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, its Assistant Secretary
Bimoy Tamang, besides Mukunda Mazumdar, chief of
anti-Gorkhaland organisation "Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao