Tripura troopers for Bengal, Assam polls

Agartala, March 12 (IANS) Around 600 troopers of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) would be deployed in West Bengal and Assam to facilitate peaceful assembly elections in the two states, an official said here on Saturday.

“The TSR troopers would provide security cover first during the assembly polls in Assam. From Assam, they would move to West Bengal,” Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Anurag told IANS.

“Around 600 (six companies) TSR jawans, led by senior officials, would be posted in Assam by March 28. After the completion of two-phase elections in Assam, they would be deployed in West Bengal,” he said.

He said the union home ministry has asked the Tripura government to send the TSR troopers to Assam and Bengal as part of the central forces.

The troopers would be posted in the last five phases of elections in West Bengal, where there would be a month-long voting process for the 294-member assembly in seven phases beginning April 4 and ending May 5.

A large number of central forces have already been deployed in different parts of election-bound West Bengal.

“West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was averse…to use the TSR during previous elections two years back since the TSR jawans are from Left-ruled Tripura,” a TSR official, who accompanied the troopers that time, said while refusing to disclose his identity.

Besides providing security during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the India Reserve (IR) battalions of TSR were earlier sent to Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Nagaland and Mizoram to provide security during various elections in the states.

The elite TSR battalions, trained for counter-insurgency operations, were constituted in March 1984 to deal with terrorism. Seventy five percent of its personnel are from Tripura while the remaining come from across the country.

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