Tripura troopers for Nagaland LS polls

Agartala, March 12 (IANS): Elite Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers will provide security during the April 9 Lok Sabha polls in Nagaland, an official said here Wednesday.

“Around 1,000 TSR troopers, led by two commandants, would go to poll-bound Nagaland next week. The union home ministry has asked the Tripura government to send the TSR troopers to Nagaland,” a senior home department official told IANS. He said the deployment of the TSR troopers in Nagaland would be at the discretion of the union home ministry and the Election Commission of India.

In the second phase April 9, the Lok Sabha elections would be held in five northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh (two seats), Manipur (one out of two seats), Meghalaya (two seats), Mizoram (one seat), and Nagaland (one seat). “Besides providing security during Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010, the India Reserve (IR) battalions of TSR were earlier sent to Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Mizoram to provide security during various elections in these states,” the official said.

The TSR, trained for counter-insurgency operations, was constituted in March 1984 to deal with terrorism. Seventy-five percent of its troopers are from Tripura while the remaining are from across the country. At present, there are 12 TSR battalions in the northeastern state, of which nine are India Reserve battalions, which means they can be deployed anywhere in India by the union home ministry. The central government has approved the raising of three more TSR battalions.

“The TSR has been modelled on the pattern of Border Security Force and Assam Rifles. It has played an important role in curbing four-and-a-half decades old terrorism in Tripura,” the official added. Election Commission of India director general Ashish Srivastava Wednesday held a series of meetings with the leaders of various political parties and top officials and reviewed the poll preparedness in Tripura.

The state election machinery in Tripura has requested the election commission to send at least 108 companies of central paramilitary forces to conduct the elections in two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura April 7 and April 12.