New SP post to fight Maoists

Jorhat, Dec. 12: Assam police have urged Dispur to create the post of superintendent of police (operations) in Upper Assam to co-ordinate offensives against Maoists which have been trying to gain a foothold in the area.

The post will be on the lines of SP (operations) in Guwahati, which was created a few years back.

The push came after intelligence reports revealed that several youths from Assam had moved to Maoist strongholds in Jharkhand, Bihar and Bengal and had undergone training there.

The Assam police want an SP dedicated to counter-insurgency operations in Upper Assam so that there is no “overlapping or confusion” among the security forces, who have been primarily targeting Ulfa.

The move comes at a time when chief minister Tarun Gogoi has been reiterating that Maoists were trying to expand base in the state.

Gogoi had even said the anti-big dam movement in Assam had the support of Maoists.

According to police records, in February, three youths from Upper Assam districts who were arrested from Odisha for alleged links with Maoists, revealed how the group was trying to make inroads in the region.

A source said the proposal, prepared by the police department after discussions with officials working in the field, calls for changing the post of zonal SP (special branch) based at Jorhat to SP (operations) or SP (left wing extremism) to bring all operations against the left wing militants and intelligence-gathering mechanism under a single official.

The plan said in order to prevent the spread of Maoist operatives in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts to other areas, continuous offensives were required, led by a senior officer.

SP (operations) will report to the deputy inspector-general of police (eastern range), since the present zonal SP is under the Special Branch wing, the proposal states.

The DIG (eastern range) is in charge of four districts, of which Tinsukia and Dibrugarh — bordering Arunachal Pradesh — are said to have Maoist presence.

The plan also calls for enhancing police manpower and infrastructure, citing the methods Andhra Pradesh used to tackle Maoists.

Construction and repair of police stations, outposts and police barracks and boundary walls find place in the plan as do sanctioning of new police stations and outposts in the two affected districts.

For Tinsukia district, the proposal lists 11 police stations and 14 barracks which need immediate repair.

In Dibrugarh, two police stations and two outposts need repairs while nine police barracks require urgent renovation.

In a separate plan submitted to Upper Assam commissioner Syed Iftikar Hussain, Assam police suggested that the force should carry out massive recruitments in the backward areas of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts to wean away youths from joining Maoist groups.

The police have also urged Dispur to scale down the criterion for employing constables from matriculation to Standard VIII, especially for Tinsukia.

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