West Bengal, Bihar, Assam police coordinating for polls

Siliguri (West Bengal), April 23 (Inditop) Police forces of West Bengal, Bihar and Assam are working in coordination to foil any militant strikes in the volatile region during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

While the six districts in northern West Bengal go to polls April 30, voting was underway in Assam and parts of Bihar Thursday. Bihar will have further rounds April 30 and May 7.

Police in northern areas of West Bengal held a meeting with their counterparts from Assam and Bihar and decided to tighten security on the inter-state borders, said Inspector General (North Bengal) Kundan Lal Tamta.

Special Inspector General of Police (Jalpaiguri range) D. T. Lepcha said Bengal police are conducting vehicle checking, security checking and surprise checking Thursday as Assam goes to the polls.

“Assam police will do the same when North Bengal people exercise their franchise on April 30. Such coordination is needed to pre-empt militant attacks and prevent untoward incidents,” Lepcha told IANS.

With the northern parts of West Bengal sharing borders with three countries – Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh – border guards have also been alerted.

While the Border Security Force (BSF) has been maintaining close vigil on the India-Bangladesh border, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is keeping a hawk’s eye view at the India-Bhutan and India-Nepal borders.

Female jawans of the SSB have been deployed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Indo-Nepal border in Panitanki near Siliguri to ensure that women suicide squads do not sneak in.

Leaves of all SSB jawans and officers have been cancelled, the source said.

Meanwhile, central paramilitary forces were conducting route marches in northern areas of West Bengal. By Saturday, more central forces will arrive, and the region will have altogether 97 companies on polling day.

Twelve companies of paramilitary jawans have been deployed in troubled Darjeeling, where the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) is fighting for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of parts of northern West Bengal.

Besides, Rajbanshis, led by the Greater Coochbehar People’s Party (GCPP), are in favour of a separate state comprising the territory of the former Cooch Behar kingdom.

Similarly, the militant outfit Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) wants a separate Kamtapur state spread over parts of northern parts of the state.