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Ebb in militancy makes DGP glad

- Bangladesh turmoil worries top cop

Agartala, Jan. 2: Tripura DGP C. Balasubramaniam today expressed satisfaction over the “remarkably reduced level” of insurgency in the state but worried over the continuing political turmoil in Bangladesh as, he feared, this might have a spill-over effect on Tripura in the form of infiltration of political elements from there.

“Our security forces, specially the BSF, continue to be on high alert all along the 856km border with Bangladesh and will remain so until the situation there cools down. We cannot afford to lower our guard till normality is restored there,” said Balasubramaniam.

He was interacting with the media on the occasion of the ongoing police week from January 1 to tomorrow at the state police headquarters here.

He said militancy-related incidents have drastically reduced in Tripura over the past five years but “ragtag groups” of militants continue to be active.

“There are 17 to 18 militant hideouts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh opposite Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura, Gandacherra subdivision of Dhalai district and Karbook subdivision of Gomati district. Barring stray abductions, the militants cannot do anything,” said Balasubramaniam. He pointed out that militants were still active though on a very low key mainly because of “some unfenced parts” of the border.

Balasubramaniam, however, expressed concern over growing incidences of crimes against women in the state but said the police alone cannot curb this. “We take action after it happens but to curb crimes against women greater social awareness is required. Our Prayaas initiative has launched awareness programmes but society at large has to come forward to curb crimes against women.”

He said Tripura now has women police stations at Agartala while six police stations at the district level have separate wings for women. The state government is planning to launch separate police stations in all the districts and subdivisions.

Pointing out the difficulty faced by the police in proceeding against incidents of crimes against women, the DGP said last year, 30 per cent of rape cases, results of love affairs, were settled outside court and police control by guardians from both sides.

“At present, 7 per cent of our policemen are drawn from women but we are going to increase that significantly in the interest of women in the state,” said the DGP.

Balasubramaniam also expressed dismay over the “abnormally low” conviction rate in Tripura.

“Last year, the conviction rate was only 11.2 per cent while at the national level, it was more than 38 per cent. The average conviction rate in Tripura is 15 per cent as against 42 per cent at the national level. We are taking special measures to improve the conviction rate by training investigating police officers and assistant public prosecutors in courts.”

Tripura police, however, faces new problems in providing security to chief minister Manik Sarkar. As the chief minister of a sensitive border state, Sarkar is entitled to Z-plus security but he never utilises this. “Since the chief minister is unwilling to be burdened with Z-plus security, we manage by co-ordinating forces at the ground level,” said Balasubramaniam.

Regarding the annual prizes given by the state police, the DGP said this year, Amtoli police station in southern Agartala has been declared the best police station while DSP Sharmistha Chakraborty of Bishalgarh has been awarded the policeman of the year award.

Sandip Laskar, a sub-inspector in Unakoti district, has been conferred the best investigator award while 12 TSR battalion has been chosen as the best TSR battalion.

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