GUWAHATI, March 16 - With the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) areas having a history of electoral violence, the police and security forces are gearing up to ensure peaceful polls.
Meanwhile, strict instructions have also been issued to the militant groups under ceasefire agreement to ensure that all their cadres remain in the designated camps during the poll process.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that additional forces would be brought into the four districts under the BTAD, while counter-insurgency operations have already been intensified. The sources pointed out that the last BTC polls were by and large peaceful, while the last Parliamentary polls were also quite peaceful. But with the area having a history of poll-related violence, the police and security forces are leaving no stone unturned to ensure violence-free elections.
Sources pointed out that after sustained operations for the past one year, the NDFB(S) suffered severe setbacks and the outfit is not in a position to create major trouble. But the possibility of clashes between supporters of rival parties cannot be ruled out as the area had seen such clashes in the past. A close watch on the situation is being maintained and vulnerable areas have been identified. A special drive against those in possession of illegal weapons has been launched and it is yielding the desired results as a number of such weapons have been seized in the last few days.
Though the Army will not be used for election duties, Army personnel have intensified counter-insurgency operations. The Army personnel are also being used for domination of the vulnerable areas.
Replying to a question on whether the militant groups under ceasefire may create trouble during the polls, police sources said that the leaders of such outfits have been asked to ensure that all their cadres remain in the designated camps during the poll process. Sources said that a close watch would be maintained on the designated camps and strong action would be taken against anyone found to be violating the ground rules of the ceasefire agreement.
The SSB personnel have been given lists of the vulnerable areas along the international border with Bhutan to prevent movement of ultras. In fact, all the forces on the ground are meeting regularly for exchange of inputs so that the elections can be held peacefully, sources added.
It may be mentioned here that following sustained operations by the forces, a number of NDFB(S) ultras reportedly managed to escape to Bhutan. As the Bhutan Army, on the basis of tip-off by the Government of India, has also launched an operation, there is every possibility of the militants trying to return to Assam and the vigil along the international border has been intensified to check such movement, sources added.