Tuesday, May 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

10 more companies for Tripura
Left Front, Cong bandh today

NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) — Ten additional companies of the central paramilitary forces (CPMF), including four of Assam Rifles and six of the CRPF, will be rushed to Tripura in the wake of the recent ethnic violence in the state which claimed 45 lives.

This was decided at a meeting between Home Secretary Kamal Pande and Tripura Chief Secretary V. Tulsidas here today.

Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) reviewed the situation in Tripura and decided to send CPMF there. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

An official spokesman said the four companies of Assam Rifles would be deployed immediately for counter-insurgency operations while the six companies of the CRPF would be released for the next four weeks.

The spokesman said the Home Ministry was “extremely concerned’’ over the situation in Tripura and a series of meetings had been held in November-December last year.

The Centre had formulated an action plan to tackle ethnic violence in the state. The plan consisted of setting up of special operation group in every battalion of paramilitary force and the state armed police. The use of NSA against banned militants, specific measures to obtain intelligence and the setting up of development-security zones among others.

The spokesman said the existing level of deployment in Tripura was adequate to maintain law and order. It only needed to be utilised more effectively and more aggressively.

AGARTALA: The ruling CPM led Left Front along with the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, the two main opposition parties, has called a 12-hour statewide bandh tomorrow in support of their respective demands and in protest against the ethnic violence in West Tripura’s Khowai subdivision.

The ruling Left Front demanded the urgent airlifting of the Army to the state while the opposition Congress demanded the resignation of the Left Front Government and the imposition of President’s rule in view of the “deteriorating’’ law and order situation in Tripura.

Announcing the bandh call, Trinamool Congress state President and former Chief Minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder and Tripura Pradesh Congress President Birjit Sinha, MLA, told newsmen here that following the misrule of the Left Front government the ethnic clash had reached its peak. There was no government or administration in the state while the underground militants were killing people mercilessly, they alleged.

The other opposition parties, including the BJP, the Tripura Upajati Juba Samity and the Janata Dal (United) had also demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Meanwhile, the curfew remained imposed for the third day on Monday in the violence-hit Khowai subdivision while more than 15,000 persons migrated to safer places.

Assam Rifles, the Tripura State Rifles, the CRPF and the state police continued maximum vigil following large-scale ethnic violence, which has claimed 45 lives since Friday.

West Tripura District Magistrate Manoj Kumar told UNI that the curfew would continue till further orders. No fresh violence was reported, he said adding the situation was under control.

The state government had opened nine relief camps for the affected. A large number of persons were still missing in the wake of the violence which was the biggest since the June 1980 riots at Mandi in West Tripura.

The militant and violent mobs also burnt down about 200 houses.

Tension ran high in many parts of the Khowai subdivision where tribal guerrillas have been on a killing spree since December 1996.

The police said 22 persons were detained following the Khowai violence and they were being interrogated by the security forces.

At least six tribals were injured, two of them seriously, when cadres associated with the United Bengali Liberation Front of Tripura threw powerful bombs on a passenger jeep today under Panisagar police station in North Tripura. One person was arrested in this connection.

A high-level meeting was held here on Monday to review the latest situation in the state. Senior police and civil officials were present at the meeting.

The state government has replaced the CRPF with the Tripura State Rifles and the state police besides Assam Rifles following allegation that CRPF jawans did not intervene during the Khowai violence. 

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