R DUTTA CHOUDHURY
GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - With Durga Puja round the corner, the Assam Police and security forces are gearing up to ensure peaceful celebrations while, relocation of forces as per requirement has started. Though there is no specific input about possibility of militants or jehadi elements trying to create trouble during the celebrations has been received so far, the police is not keen on taking any chance, said the Director General of Assam Police, Kula Saikia.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the DGP asserted that the Assam Police is ready to face any challenge and appealed to all sections of people to cooperate with the police for ensuring trouble free celebrations. He said that as per information gathered so far, around 7,000 community puja celebrations including around 450 in Guwahati city will be held this year and ensuring peaceful celebrations would be possible with the cooperation of the celebration committees and people of the State.
On the preparations by the police, Saikia said that the process of relocation of forces is on depending on the requirements of all the districts. Additional forces have been sent to the districts where the number of community puja celebrations in higher, while, the vulnerability factor was also taken into consideration while taking the decisions on force deployment. He said that guidelines have been issued to all the puja celebration committees, while, the district police forces along with officials of the district administration are meeting the members of the committees to ensure that all the guidelines are strictly followed. The citizens' committees and members of the village defence parties have been activated all over the State to act as force multipliers.
Saikia pointed out that the most common crimes during the celebrations include petty crimes like eve teasing, snatching, pickpocket, etc., and police men and women in plain cloth would be deployed in the puja pandals, while, the local volunteers have also been trained up to assist the police in checking such crimes. All the district police forces have also been directed to chalk out traffic management plans for the celebrations. He also said that security of the ghats used for immersion of the idols has also been tightened and the concerned authorities have been asked to make arrangement for proper illumination of the areas. He said that personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would be deployed outside the parameters of the pandals and not inside.
Replying to a question on whether there is any threat from any militant group of jehadi group during the celebrations considering the fact that there have been reports of attempts by the ultras to sneak into the State, the DGP said that so far, the police has not received any specific input about such a possibility. However, he said that the police and security forces are not taking any chance and the Special Branch and other agencies are also keeping a close watch on the situation. “We are ready to face any challenge to ensure that the celebrations go off peacefully,” he asserted.