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Cornered NLFT men sneak into Tripura

Agartala, Dec. 5: The ongoing political turmoil in Bangladesh has become a major source of concern for the Tripura government, with reports of groups of banned NLFT militants trying to sneak into the state from their hideouts in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh situation has put an almost complete damper on border trade between Tripura and Bangladesh. It has also created a possibility of influx of people from across the border.

The BSF posted along the state’s 856km border with Bangladesh have been put on high alert following reports of attempted transborder movement of banned anti-Indian militants and influx of ordinary Bangladeshi citizens belonging to the minority community.

Highly placed sources in state police said the BSF has been put on alert “as a matter of routine” because of the growing unrest in Bangladesh.

“As a close neighbour, Tripura is invariably affected by major developments in Bangladesh and the BSF is routinely put on alert; this has been done this time also and the state government has sought additional BSF jawans to plug the loopholes in the border,” police sources said.

They added that the reported attempts of groups of banned NLFT militants trying to sneak into Tripura from their hideouts in Bangladesh is a matter of deep concern.

On December 3, the special branch (intelligence wing) of state police had received a feedback that a large group of armed NLFT militants had been lurking close to the border, opposite the Karbook area of South Tripura.

Superintendent of police (South) Shankar Debnath and SP (Gomati) Thirugnana Sambandhan had rushed to Karbook and tightened security measures in and around the area, a hotbed of insurgent activities between 1993 and 2003.

They also spoke to the BSF border outposts there and asked them to keep a stricter vigil on the border with Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

“The situation as of now is under control but if the situation in Bangladesh worsens, we may be affected by influx of people, specially belonging to the minority Hindus. But the Union home ministry is aware of the situation and additional BSF battalions are expected to arrive,” a source said.

The political situation in Bangladesh has also cast a shadow of uncertainty over the early beginning of railway linkage work between Agartala and Akhaura railway junction in Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, the joint Indo-Bangla steering committee meeting in Dhaka had discussed all relevant issues but the intensification of political turmoil in Bangladesh is likely to delay land acquisition work in over 10km of the track between Nihchindipur in West Tripura and Akhaura railway junction in Bangladesh.

“I do not think the Bangladesh government will be able to do anything before the elections,” said a senior official of the state government.

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