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North Bengal on alert for Independence Day

North Bengal on alert for Independence Day
Police stations have been put on alert, intelligence inputs are being shared, and police officials are in regular touch with their counterparts in neighbouring states and with forces guarding the borders.

It is that time of the year when north Bengal goes on an alert mode, and people know Independence Day is almost at hand.

Though security agencies have said there is no specific threat, security in north Bengal has been beefed up and steps are being taken to ensure peaceful Independence Day celebrations.

Inspector General of Police, north Bengal, Gyanwant Singh, said special naka checks are on in full swing in the region, while all police stations have been alerted.

"While there is no specific security threat, police are keeping a special watch on the KLO (Kamtapur Liberation Organisation)," he said. "We have been holding security meetings at the block levels, so that we can keep a close tab on the situation.

We are in touch with our Assam counterparts and coordination meetings are being held with the border guarding forces, while we are also sharing intelligence inputs," a senior police officer said.

"Special security has been arranged for along the Bengal-Assam border to thwart any attempt of Northeastern militants to sneak into Bengal or carry out subversive activities in the region," the officer added.

Siliguri Metropolitan Police (SMP), which covers five police stations, has deployed police personnel in and around important installations.

"We are taking adequate measures. Checking of vehicles has already started in different areas, including all the entry and exit points and along principal thoroughfares of the town. Buses and other vehicles are extensively being checked. Hotels, marketplaces, crowded areas, and areas adjacent to railway stations are being checked," said SMP commissioner Manoj Verma.

According to police sources, plainclothes police personnel have also been deployed.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) has also tightened security at railway stations and in trains.

"There will be three Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) at the NJP station, Siliguri Junction and Malda station. Special security has been ensured in long-distance night trains. Fifty-eight trained guards will be deployed in the trains. We are analyzing vulnerable areas and the experiences we had in the past 10 years. The security has been enhanced jointly with the Railway Protection Force (RPF)," said the superintendent of railway police, Siliguri, Sunil Kumar Yadav.

The Siliguri GRP covers 128 stations, from the border of Farakka to the border in Jorai near Assam.

The QRTs are equipped with sophisticated arms and their members are wearing bulletproof vests.

"Patrolling has been beefed up along the railway tracks. Special focus has been laid at the stations which are very sensitive according to the security point of view," GRP sources said.(sns)

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