Security beefed up before RD and Bhutan Upper House elections

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Siliguri, Jan 22 (UNI) Security has been beefed up in North Bengal in view of the Republic Day and the second phase of Upper House elections in Bhutan slated for January 29.

Apprehending possible militant attacks, police and the Army have stepped up forces to gaurd the Indo-Bangladesh, Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.

Incidentally, four blasts that occurred in different parts of Bhutan on January 20, further necessitated tightening of the Indo-Bhutan border.

Police here today said they suspected Bhutan Communist Party (Maoist) (BCP-M) and Bhutan Tiger Force(BTF) may cause trouble in the area, especially due to their support to the one lakh strong refugees living in eastern Nepal's camps for the past 17 years, who want to return to Bhutan.

To enable these refugees to return to Bhutan, they would have to go through North Bengal. The police fear an outbreak of trouble during their journey that would be facilitated by the two parties.

BTF and the BCP(M) have demanded that these refugees should be inducted into Bhutan and given voting rights by the Bhutan government.

Bhutan police and its Joint Home Secretary have already spoken to IGP North Bengal R J S Naolwa regarding the blasts and Mr Naolwa ensured that security will be beefed up along the Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Nepal border. Sashastra Seema Bal, posted along these borders, have already been alerted.

Police stations in these border areas have also been alerted. In general, the whole of North Bengal is on high alert.

Indo-Bangla border, gaurded by the Border Security Forces, have also been alerted. IGP North Bengal said that further security and paramilitary forces were being brought. Special Vigilance forces were also being deployed on Northeastern Frontier Railways.

Train services will partly be disrupted in view of enforcing addititonal security along the border, Divisional Railway Manager, Alipur Duar Parthasarathy Mondol said.

UNI XC LL DB2058

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