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Assam DGP unveils plans

Former Assam DGP J.N. Choudhury greets his successor Khagen Sarma at the police headquarters in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Jan. 17: Khagen Sarma, who took charge as Assam’s director-general of police today, said Ulfa (Independent) was planning to carry out serial bomb blasts while the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) was plotting attacks against certain communities in a bid to trigger unrest in the state.

Sarma, who took over from J.N. Choudhury here this evening, said Ulfa (I), KLO and NDFB (Songbijit) continue to pose a threat to the state’s security.

He claimed that Ulfa (I) leader Paresh Barua had taken the lead in forming a united front of the militant groups of the Northeast, including Maoists, at the behest of external forces, including Pakistan’s ISI. He said according to information available with the police, there are around 100 trained Maoist cadres in the state.

“I don’t think that the united front will be able to make any impact since all such experiments in the past have failed,” he added.

The worst serial blasts the state had witnessed were on October 30, 2008, which claimed nearly 100 lives, besides injuring many.

He said the state’s law and order situation had improved with 16 militant groups currently holding talks with the government but there was no room for complacency.

He said despite so many militant groups entering into negotiations with the government, the level of insurgent violence had not gone down to the desired level as anti-talks factions of these groups had become desperate and were carrying out indiscriminate acts of violence against soft targets.

Sarma said containing usual crimes would be a top priority along with combating insurgency. “I will give importance to improving police infrastructure and also strive towards improving police-public relations,” he said. “I want to create such an atmosphere that law-abiding citizens do not fear or hesitate to step into a police station.”

He said he would strive to find scientific solutions to traffic problems and reduce the number of road accidents.

Choudhury, who was also present at the news meet, expressed anguish over the loss of innocent lives during the panchayat poll violence in Goalpara district last year and the BTAD clashes in 2012. He said it forces him to ponder: “Could we’ve done things differently?”

Asked how many marks he would give himself as the DGP of Assam, Choudhury replied, “Third division”.

He described his two-year tenure as the state’s DGP as “a wonderful return to my home state and an opportunity to serve my people”.

“Despite resource and systemic constraints, I made an effort to improve civil policing and tried to close the gap between the police and the public,” he added.

On his appointment as the director-general of National Security Guard (NSG), he said it would be an honour to head a central organisation.

The outgoing DGP said the state police need to work on road safety as over 2,300 people died in road accidents last year compared to 39 in insurgency-related violence.


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