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Security forces gear up to ensure peaceful polls in State

Police and security forces are fully geared up to ensure peaceful elections in Assam and with the militant groups in disarray following the strong offensive launched by the Myanmar Army, security forces are not apprehending any major acts of violence by any such outfit during the polls. There should not be any shortage of forces to deal with the situation and if required, the forces deployed for National Register of Citizens (NRC) duties can also be used for maintaining law and order in the State.

Security sources told The Assam Tribune that the striking capability of the militant groups came down drastically after they lost their strong bases in Myanmar. According to information available with the security forces, the camps of militant groups of the Northeast, including those of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit) are under occupation of Myanmar Army personnel. Reports received from Myanmar by the security agencies indicate that members of the militant groups are scattered in the jungles and some have also taken shelter in the Naga villages in that country with the assistance of the NSCN(K). The militants, who surrendered recently admitted before the police and security forces that they were even facing severe shortage of food in Myanmar as they have to be on the run following the Myanmar Army operations.
The Assam Rifles, entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the international border with Myanmar, is keeping a close watch on the possible movement of militants, but so far, no mass exodus of militants has come to notice. However, there have been reports of movement of small groups of militants in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Army operations have been intensified in those areas. A close watch is also being maintained in the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border areas to prevent militants from sneaking into Assam to create trouble during the polls.

Sources also pointed out that so far, the militants have not issued any call to boycott the elections. However, police and security forces are not taking any chances and monitoring the situation. It may be mentioned here that the operational group of the Unified Command yesterday discussed the security scenario in the State and worked out strategies to ensure peaceful elections.

Sources expressed the view that as the Centre has sent more than 30 companies of additional forces to Assam, there should not be any shortage of force. At present, around 160 companies of central forces are deployed in the State apart from the police, while the Army is also engaged in counterinsurgency operations. If required, the forces deployed for NRC duties can also be used. Moreover, as the elections are held in three phases, it will be possible to redeploy the forces after each phase to ensure that there is no shortage of force in any part of the State on the day of the polling, sources added.

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