Durga Puja to begin amid high alert in Tripura, Assam

Posted By: IANS
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Puja to begin amid high alert in Tripura
Agartala, Oct 7: Security along the India-Bangladesh border has been further tightened to foil any plot by terrorists and inimical forces in Tripura and Assam during the Durga Puja festival which begins Thursday, officials said here Monday.

"We have asked our troopers to maintain a maximum alert during the festivity so that any unwanted elements including extremists could not sneak into the Indian territory," Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman Bhaskar Rawat told IANS.

He said vigil during the five-day festival used to be lax to allow people from across the border to take part in the festivities.

Pujas being organised in about 300 tribal and extremist-prone areas this year

"The Tripura government has also asked the BSF authorities to keep a close watch on the border to prevent any cross-border movement," Inspector General of Police Nepal Das told IANS in Agartala.

The Tripura police authority has set up special police posts in the bordering villages to monitor the situation.

"Hundreds of police assistance booths are being set up across the state while police officials in civil uniforms would be mingled among the crowds to keep a close inspection during the Durga Puja celebration," Das said.

The last terror attack in Tripura during Durga Puja occurred in October 2008, in which one person was killed and many injured after five blasts ripped through the markets and bus stands in Agartala.

A police officer in Silchar, a city in southern Assam dominated by Bengali Hindus, told reporters that security forces would be fanned out in four districts, including trouble-torn Dima Hasao, to prevent any untoward incident.

Movement of trains in southern Assam, Tripura and adjoining areas would also be monitored, police said.

Over 20,000 security personnel besides bomb and sniffer dog squads have been deployed in Tripura, where over 2,400 community 'pujas' are being organised.

CCTV cameras, tall watch towers and metal detectors have been installed at popular puja venues and congested areas.

Another senior police official said : "Mountainous tribal areas are calm this year-- with none of the militant groups there asking people not to organise the festival."

"Despite previous incidents when Hindus were targeted for celebrating religious festivals, pujas are being organised in about 300 tribal and extremist-prone areas this year," he said.

Mounting prices of all commodities and depression caused rain failed to dampen the spirit of the puja enthusiasts and organisers.

The northeast region's most costly Durga Puja being organised at Udhalband Kalibari road in Silchar (350 km west of Assam's main city Guwahati) with a budget of Rs.35 lakh.

According to organisers of the puja, several Assam ministers are providing donations for the celebration.


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