Agartala, Aug 21: Separatist terrorists have been trying to strengthen their outfits in Tripura ahead of the assembly polls early next year but security forces are ready to tackle them, the northeastern state’s police chief said Tuesday.
“Even though the outlawed guerillas have been trying to create troubles before next year’s assembly polls, the security forces are also getting ready to hit back with a befitting manner,” Director General of Police Sanjay Sinha said after unveiling a memorial to policemen killed by separatists in 2002.
“The terrorist groups should not feel that the state government is weak to deal with them. The security forces are fully ready to face any eventuality,” Sinha warned.
The memorial was set up at Hirapur, 25 km south of here, in memory of 20 Tripura State Rifles troopers who were killed by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants on Aug 20, 2002.
Polls in Tripura, now the only state ruled by the Left in the country, are slated for February 2013.
The police chief urged the underground tribal guerillas to join the mainstream to help the authorities to continue development in underdeveloped areas and welfare of the people.
He also urged the people to inform police or him personally if they found anyone helping or aiding extremists or any rebels operating in their locality.
The state police also revealed that NLFT extremists were engaged in “fresh recruitment of innocent tribal youths from interior areas”.
“The guerrillas are also trying to extort money from different agencies with the help of a section of surrendered extremists and their sympathisers,” the statement added.
Tripura’s two militant secessionist outfits – NLFT and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), both banned by the Indian authorities – have set up bases in Bangladesh, and receive support from other separatist outfits of the northeast.
“Currently, the number of NLFT cadres is 150 to 155, and the ATTF has 10 to 12 guerillas,” Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar recently told the state assembly, quoting intelligence reports.
Tripura has successfully controlled the 45-year-old phenomenon of secessionist terrorism in the state, which borders Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, leaders of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have been alleging that separatist outfits, aided by a section of opposition leaders, were conspiring to oust the Left Front from power in the next year’s state assembly polls.
Rejecting the allegations, the Congress said it was the government which was using militants for the polls, by withdrawing 1,300 criminal cases against 736 surrendered guerrillas.