R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, May 14 - At a time when vested interest groups are trying to create divide in the society, particularly with the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) nearing completion, the State Government is facing serious problems due to severe shortage of force. The problem is likely to ease out only if the forces withdrawn from Assam are redeployed after the elections in other parts of the country are over.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that more than a hundred companies of Central forces were withdrawn from Assam after the three phase elections in the State were over as forces had to be deployed in other states of the country for elections. Moreover, Assam police personnel are also sent to other states including West Bengal and Bihar for the elections.
Sources pointed out that under the present circumstances, Central force personnel had to be deployed in the strong rooms where the electronic voting machines are stored. The security cover provided to the candidates and leaders of the political parties have not been withdrawn after the elections and it would have to be kept till the election process is over. Moreover, adequate security cover had to be given to the centres where the hearings for the claims and objections on the draft of the NRC are going on. All these resulted in shortage of forces to deal with the situation and the available forces have to be relocated by considering the vulnerability of the areas, sources added.
Sources admitted that the situation in some parts of the State became tense as the process of updating the NRC is coming to a close and efforts by vested interest groups to create disturbance is also adding fuel to the fire. All the district superintendents of police have been asked to keep close watch on the situation and to engage leaders of different communities in process of dialogues to ensure peace among all communities. The senior officers are also directed to identify the vulnerable areas and to visit the interior places of the districts frequently to keep the situation under control. It is also directed that strong action should be taken against anyone violating the laws and even those involved in rumour mongering.
Security sources admitted that the social media is creating a major problem as some unscrupulous elements are using it to spread hate messages and rumours. Sources admitted that in the recent Hailakandi incident, the social media created havoc and the administration was forced to stop internet services in the entire Barak valley. Though all the district police forces have been directed to monitor the social media, it is not possible to check all social media posts, particularly the messages circulated through the WhatsApp groups.
However, sources expressed the hope that the forces withdrawn from the State would be redeployed in Assam immediately after the elections in other states of the country are over and the situation is likely to improve as soon as the forces reach the State. But , till date, the Government has not decided whether it would have to seek additional forces from the Centre during the time of publication of the final NRC.