Armed with sophisticated weapons and electronic gadgets, a record number of security personnel would be deployed in Tripura and southern Assam for the five-day Durga Puja festivities beginning on October 15, police said on Saturday.
The festivities will begin on October 15 with ‘Maha Sasthi’ or ‘Bodhan’- the welcoming of the Durga idols.
“Besides deployment of higher number of around 9,900 Tripura police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) personnel, the troopers of central para-military forces have been asked to maintain a close watch on the situation to foil any untoward incident during this period,” Director General of Tripura Police Akhil Kumar Shukla told the media.
He said that several meetings were held with the senior officials of police, TSR, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Assam Rifles and central intelligence agencies to make the security arrangements foolproof.
“BSF troopers would maintain a close vigil along the India-Bangladesh border to ensure that the festival is free of any untoward incident.”
The police chief said that quick reaction teams and bomb and dog squads would be ready to deal with any eventuality and around 100 watch towers, 230 CCTVs and 150 police assistance booths would be set up to maintain law and order.
With a small increase over last year, at least 2,527 community Durga Pujas including 1,570 in rural areas were being organised in Tripura.
Security was also tightened in southern Assam’s four districts dominated by Bengalis — Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Dima Hasao.
“Besides strengthening of normal security, movement of trains will also be monitored in southern Assam,” a police officer told reporters at Silchar.
According to the police official, around 1,500 Durga Pujas were being organised across the four districts, adjoining Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur.
Writer and social activist Uttam Kumar Saha said that despite the unenthusiastic atmosphere after the exclusion of the names of a large number of people from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam, the puja spirit had not dampened in Assam’s southern region.
“Puja committees are working round-the-clock to make their preparations foolproof and to provide an exciting time to the pandal hoppers. Different themes, significant archaeological sites and historic memorials are being showcased in the decoration of the puja pandals,” Saha told IANS over phone from Silchar.