BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 22: Amid the perceived threat from jehadi groups in Assam following recent terror activities in Bangladesh, the issue of security cover currently being provided for Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal was discussed in the State Assembly on Friday with both ruling and opposition members saying that security given to the head of the State shouldn’t be compromised at any cost.
What is more shocking is that this was for the first time, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary officially revealed in the House that Chief Minister Sonowal didn’t accept adequate security cover provided by the Assam Police.
It may be mentioned that immediately after assuming office as the Chief Minister, Sonowal had expressed the view that the number of vehicles in his convoy should be reduced drastically as compared to his predecessor’s. He was of the view that the common people should not suffer because of his movements.
In the House on Friday, AGP MLA Pabindra Deka under Rule 54 drew the attention of the State Home Minister to the increasing jehadi activities in the State and wanted to know how the State Government is planning to thwart any such activities if taken place in Assam. The AGP MLA was joined by MLAs Padma Hazarika, Pijush Hazarika, Tapan Kr Gogoi and few others who asked the Home Minister whether the security cover being given to the Chief Minister is adequate or not.
In his reply on behalf of the Home Minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said “As per the wishes of the Chief Minister, security has been given to him, but at the same time, his security was not compromised with. He just refused to take adequate security,” said Patowary.
During the discussion, Jagiroad MLA Pijush Hazarika suggested that the NSG cover should be given to the Chief Minister.
Intelligence inputs suggest that persons of stature like prime minister, cabinet ministers and chief minister shouldn’t compromise with his or her security at any cost. Similar suggestions on the issue were given by BJP, Congress, AIUDF and BPF MLAs who were present in the House.
In his reply, Patowary said, “Adequate security was given to the Chief Minister by the State Police, but it’s his persol decision whether he wants adequate security or not. But presently his level of security is low. I will convey the message of the House to him, but it’s his persol decision.”
Meanwhile, expressing his concern over the rise in jehadi activities, Patowary said activities perpetrated by the Jamatul Mujahideen of Bangladesh (JMB) in the State had come to light after the blast in West Bengal’s Bardwan district on October 2, 2014. Following the incident, 52 JMB cadres were arrested by the Assam Police from different parts of Barpeta, Chirang, Baksa, lbari, Bongaigaon and Goalpara districts, he said, adding that of the 52 arrested cadres, 12 were from Bardwan and all were trained in madrasas and radicalised there, and the rest of the cadres received training in Assam.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister also stated that another 12 JMB cadres, who are on the police radar, are presently absconding. One Sahidul alias Shamin alias Nirmal from Barpeta district and another Jahidul alias Jubirool (suspected Bangladeshi), who are reportedly motivating people in JMB ideology, are currently missing. “After the Dhaka incident and video clippings of ISIS and AQIS groups, another two JMB cadres Md Kasimuddin Ali and Akmal Ali were arrested in Barpeta. These two cadres were trained in Bangladesh,” he said, adding, “the State Police is fully ready to tackle any situation.”