Agartala: Around 1,020 troopers of the counter-insurgency trained Tripura State Rifles (TSR) left for West Bengal on Friday to perform election-related duties in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state, official said here.
“Following the instructions of the Union Home Ministry and the Election Commission (EC), 12 companies comprising 1,020 TSR troopers moved to West Bengal by train on Friday to perform the parliamentary election related duties,” an official of the State Home Department said, wishing not to be named. He said the TSR troopers, who would be part of the Central forces in West Bengal, would perform election related duties till the completion of the Lok Sabha elections in that state on May 19. Two commanding officers and few other middle-rank officers are leading the TSR personnel.
Of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, elections were held in 10 seats in the first three phases, while the remaining 32 seats will go to the polls in the subsequent four phases on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. “The 12 companies of TSR were supposed to move to West Bengal on April 19, but due to the postponement of polling in the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency from April 18 to April 23, the movement of the security personnel was delayed,” the official said.
Last week, the EC had deferred elections in the Tripura East seat from April 18 to April 23, citing “unconducive security situation”. The official said that two TSR companies comprising 170 troopers had performed election-related duties in Nagaland, where polling in the lone Lok Sabha seat was held in the first phase on April 11. Tripura’s elite counter-insurgency trained India Reserve (IR) battalions of the TSR had provided security during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and performed election-related duties in more than 12 States, including Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and the northeastern States.
The TSR was constituted in March 1984 to deal with militancy. Seventy-five percent of its personnel are from Tripura, while the remaining come from across the country.
Currently, the TSR has 12 battalions out of which nine are IR. The Union Home Ministry has recently sanctioned two more TSR battalions. “The IR battalions can be posted anywhere in the country as and when the Union Home Ministry asks the concerned state government,” a senior TSR official said. (IANS)
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