Special unit to tackle terrorism - Security beefed up in and around Jagannath temple in Puri

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By LELIN KUMAR MALLICK
  • Published 9.07.13
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Bhubaneswar, July 8: The state government today formed a special unit on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG) to tackle the threat of urban terrorism.

Called the Special Tactical Unit, the force will deal with hostage crises and other kinds of terrorist strikes. The unit consists of 30 commandos of the state government’s Special Operation Group (SOG), who have received a month long training at the NSG training centre in Manesar, Haryana. They have already honed their skills in jungle warfare as the SOG jawans are fighting Maoists.

The unit, apart from being armed with sophisticated weapons procured from the west European countries, has been provided with other combat accessories such as night vision glasses and bullet-proof vests. They gave a demonstration of their fighting skills at Odisha State Armed Police ground here.

Police said Odisha was the third state in the country to have a special counter-terrorism force after Andhra Pradesh and Mahrashtra. The force in Andhra Pradesh is called the Organisation for Counter Terrorists Operations, while it has been named Force One in Maharashtra. Director-general of police Prakash Mishra said that though Odisha did not face any terrorist threat at the moment, the special unit would be stationed in Bhubaneswar and tackle emergencies in any part of the state.

“At present, another group of jawans are under training. The next unit will be set up within the next two to three months,” said inspector general of police (operations) Arun Sarangi.

Retired director-general of police S.N. Tiwary welcomed the move, saying that the unit would act as the state’s first response to emergency situations. “The two major defence installations on the coast and the Jagannath temple in Puri are among the most vulnerable in the state to terrorist strikes,” said Tiwary.

Security has been beefed up in Puri, especially in and around the 12th century Jagannath temple in view of rath yatra that falls on July 10. The state government is taking no chances in the wake of serial blasts at the historic Mahabodhi temple in Bihar’s Bodhgaya yesterday.