The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sleuths ring R-Day alarm

Raiganj, Jan. 17: Police are on alert following intelligence reports that militants might sneak into north Bengal and create disturbance before Republic Day, inspector-general of police (north) Bhupinder Singh said.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to the North Dinajpur district last evening, Singh said security is being tightened across the region after the police received reports from various Central and state intelligence agencies.

Thirty-four new points along the border with Nepal will be manned by the Special Security Bureau forces, he added.

“We have to remain extra alert because of the intelligence inputs. The militants might slip in any moment before January 26,” he said.

The officer said all the six districts in the region have been alerted and asked to monitor the situation carefully.

Flanked by Bangladesh and Assam on one side and Nepal and Bhutan on the other, north Bengal has become easily accessible to the militants, said the IG.

While the BSF jawans are guarding the Indo-Bangla border, vast tracts along the frontier with Nepal and Bhutan — from Maneybhanjang in Darjeeling to Sikkim — were without any security cover, he said.

“This stretch has been marked as vulnerable. We are going to deploy SSB personnel at 30 outposts along the India-Nepal border and four on the India-Bhutan frontier,” said Singh.

Asked about chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s claim that “innocent” people who had been picked up on suspicion of being Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) activists would be released, the IG said there were no “innocent people” among those arrested.

“The arrested people fall in two categories — one comprising those who have undergone arms training to wage a war against the establishment and another consisting of those who have indirectly helped the militants by giving them food and shelter,” he said. “We have never arrested or detained anyone who is innocent.”

Earlier, while inaugurating the annual sports of the district police, the officer was all praise for the security setup in north Bengal. “Militant and criminal activities have come down appreciably in north Bengal in recent times. I am proud of my colleagues,” Singh said.

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