Arms for Tinsukia cops

Police get weapons, vehicles, gadgets; reports warn of Ulfa strike

By Wasim Rahman
  • Published 24.07.15

Jorhat, July 23: Tinsukia police are being equipped with sophisticated weapons, vehicles and gadgets for counter-insurgency operations, which have been intensified in the district after the July 14 killing of a trader and his daughter.

MP5 pistols, state-of-the-art all-terrain bullet-proof vehicles like Mahindra Marksman, modern communication sets and night-vision goggles are among the equipment provided by the Assam police headquarters.

Police sources said the German-made MP5 (motor pistol) has been provided to a district police for the first time in the state. In recent times, the 9mm sub-machine gun has been provided to commandos and rangers of Assam police for carrying out special operations. One of the most sophisticated weapons used for close combat worldwide, it is very effective and fatal for short and medium-range targets, they added.

The move to equip Tinsukia police also follows intelligence reports that Ulfa (Independent) is trying to foment trouble in Upper Assam districts. Two Ulfa (I) cadres, who were arrested from Sivasagar district with two hand grenades last week, have told the police that the outfit's top leadership has directed cadres to carry out "big strikes" in Upper Assam in the run-up to Independence Day.

Tinsukia shares a long, forested and hilly boundary with Arunachal Pradesh through which Ulfa (I)militants sneak into Assam from Myanmar and vice-versa. The police are being heavily armed to give a fast and fitting reply to the militants.

The Mahindra Marksman is an all-terrain, armoured, bullet-proof, international standard vehicle designed for counter-insurgency operations, sources said. The vehicle, which is totally closed, is fitted with an air-conditioner and has a light machine gun (LMG) mounted on it. Used by the commando forces of Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and West Bengal, it is the best deterrent available in India against small arms fire and grenade attacks, the source added.

Three such vehicles have been dispatched to four districts of Upper Assam. One has already arrived in Tinsukia while the other two are likely to be shared by Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar, the source said.

Tinsukia already has two Rakshak armoured vehicles - the earlier version of Mahindra-manufactured bullet-proof armoured vehicles. Heavy-duty motorbikes and SUVs have also been provided to Upper Assam districts to enhance the mobility of the police force.

The night-vision goggles being provided to Tinsukia police are used by Assam police commandos and Assam police battalion personnel deployed at border outposts along the Assam-Nagaland and Assam-Arunachal boundaries, the source added.

Communication (wireless) sets are also being replaced in Upper Assam with new models having better battery back-up and connectivity in the remote and interior areas.

Since the July 14 killings, Dispur has also dispatched seven additional companies of state police to Upper Assam - three in Tinsukia police district, two in Sadiya police district and one each in Dibrugarh and Sivasagar.

Of the three companies sent to Tinsukia, one has been deployed at a police patrol post set up on the campus of Bijulibangaon panchayat office under which Natun Maithong, the village of the slain trader, Nandalal Sahu, 65, falls. Bijuliban gaon panchayat under Pengeri police stationis a remote area, about 60km from the district headquarters of Tinsukia.