Tight security in Tripura, Assam for Durga Puja

Agartala/Silchar, Oct 12 (IANS) Armed with sophisticated weapons, a large number of para-military and state security personnel would be deployed in Tripura and Assam for the Durga Puja festivities beginning next week, officials said on Monday.

The five-day Durga Puja festival is the biggest annual carnival of eastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh.

The puja, mostly performed by Hindu Bengalees, would formally begin on October 19 with ‘Maha Sasthi’ or ‘Bodhan’ — the welcoming of the Durga idols.

“The BSF (Border Security Force) has been asked to maintain a close watch on the India-Bangladesh border to ensure that the festival is free of any untoward incident,” Tripura’s Inspector General of Police Nepal Das told IANS.

Over 20,000 security personnel and quick reaction teams besides bomb and dog squads would be deployed across Tripura.

The security personnel, equipped with sophisticated arms, electronic gadgets and binoculars, will be positioned in many watch towers in Agartala and different parts of the bordering state.

Director General of Tripura police K. Nagraj will on Tuesday hold a review meeting on security arrangements during the Puja.

District police chiefs, senior police and other security and intelligence officials would attend the meeting, to be held at the police headquarters.

“Counter-insurgency operation against the outlawed militants would be intensified by Assam Rifles, CRPF and the Tripura State Rifles in the terrorist prone and hilly areas,” Das said.

He said intelligence networks have been activated and police pickets and mobile and foot patrolling will be conducted.

With a little increase over last year, at least 2,500 community and about 100 family Durga Pujas are expected to be organised in Tripura.

Close Circuit TV (CCTVs) are being installed at sensitive and crowded locations while people at big puja venues will have to pass through metal detectors.

“Unlike previous years, there are no reports about tribal guerrillas creating problems or asking people not to organise the puja. The number of Durga Pujas has also increased in rural and remote areas,” Das said.

Despite incidents in the past when rebels targeted Hindus for celebrating religious festivals, pujas are being organised in about 300 tribal and extremist-prone areas this year.

For uninterrupted power supply during the festival, Mizoram and Meghalaya would supply additional electricity to Tripura, which as a reciprocal gesture will supply power to the Christian-dominated states during the Christmas.

Security was tightened further in southern Assam, dominated by Bengalis and people from other northeastern states.

“Besides strengthening of normal security, movement of trains will also be monitored in southern Assam,” a police officer told reporters at Silchar, one of the main commercial cities in southern Assam.

In Assam, puja committees are working round-the-clock to make their preparations foolproof and to provide an interesting time to the pandal hoppers.

The Uzanbazar Barowari Durga Puja Mandap in Guwahati is celebrating 126 years of organising Durga Puja with a week-long programme.

According to media reports, over 28,500 community Durga pujas would be held in adjoining Bangladesh and the Bagnaldesh government has made elaborate security measures across the Muslim dominated country.

During the Durga Puja festival people across the border travelled either side to enjoy the festivity.

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