Banerjee demands revocation of decision to deploy CRPF during IT raids

Kolkata, Dec 23 (IANS) Launching a fresh salvo at the Narendra Modi government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding immediate revocation of the decision to deploy the CRPF for providing security to Income Tax officials and staff deputed for search operations in the state.

Objecting “strongly” to the decision, Banerjee called it “blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and against all principles of cooperative federalism”.

She said her government has not received any communication from the central government about its move, but came to know of it from the media.

“No communication in this regard has been received by the state government,” she said, and enclosed a copy of the instruction as reported in the media with her letter.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the respective legislative and executive jurisdictions of the state and the central governments are clearly delineated in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and “public order” and “police” are within the domain of “List II, State List”.

“The deployment of any central police force to any state can only be done at the request of the state government. The decision must be immediately revoked,” she said.

Banerjee, however, assured Singh that that the state government and its police forces would provide “all necessary help and protection if so requested by any central government agency for any legitimate action on their part”.

She also sent copies of her missive to chief ministers of all the states.

This is the second instance of Banerjee sparring with the central government on the issue of deployment of security forces in the state.

On December 1, Banerjee had accused the central government of “deploying the army” along highway toll plazas of Bengal while keeping the state government “in the dark”.

Though the central government denied the charge, saying detailed deliberations were held with the state in advance, the issue snowballed, disrupting parliament, while Banerjee and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar engaged in a letter war.

Banerjee has been in the forefront of the protests against the Modi government’s demonetisation of higher value currency notes, and even toured several states to drum up support for her stand.

She has in recent times used every available opportunity to go hammer and tongs at Modi and the BJP.