Tura, July 7: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today said 36 new police stations would be set up in the state to enhance police infrastructure.
“Identification for setting up of new police stations in the state is being done at the government level. This is to ensure effective police administration in Meghalaya,” said Sangma, while inaugurating the newly constructed Ampati police station in the South West Garo Hills district.
“There is shortage of police manpower to deal with regular crime, militancy and investigation. Hence, the government has decided to look forward to creating the new infrastructure taking into consideration the present scenario,” he said.
Dedicating the new police station to the people of the district, the chief minister said, “Police organisation is associated with everyone’s life. They protect our rights with the rule of the law and provide security. Police-public relationship is very important for effective delivery of the system.”
In an indirect approach to urge people to abstain from crime and other anti-social activities, he said, “Laws are an outcome of the commandment of God. Progressive and civilised societies live with the rule of the law.”
Terming that people have lost faith in police and judiciary because of “delay in trial” and “conviction”, he said, “The police system needs to be strengthened, so that timely investigation can be completed and judiciary can pronounce conviction. This will remind the people of the existence of law.”
The newly created South West Garo Hills district, which is close to the India-Bangladesh border, about 70km from Tura, is being regularly used by the militants as a safe transit haven. Just a month ago, an SBI official from the district was abducted, who was rescued after two days.
There have been several abductions for ransom, which has also gone unreported.
In the last two months, at least eight kidnappings have taken place from the district. In the five districts of Garo hills, at least 30 kidnappings have taken place in the last two months.
South West Garo Hills superintendent of police R. Muthu told The Telegraph, “We conduct regular operations to flush out militants from the area.” Asked about manpower, he refused to give out details but said, “Meghalaya’s elite Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Special Operation Team (SOT) personnel and the CRPF is aiding support for conducting insurgency operations.”
There are two police stations in the district, at Mahendraganj, which is very close to Bangladesh and at Ampati.
Till 2005, the strife-torn Garo hills region of Meghalaya had just six police stations and few outposts in selected locations.
In 2007, the outpost at Ampati was upgraded to a police station, which was functioning from a police barrack.
In 1946, the area got its first police watch post during the reign of the British, which was upgraded by the Assam government in 1956 as a police outpost.
The South West Garo Hills is a new district created in 2011. It is the home constituency of chief minister Mukul Sangma.