Siliguri: Random checks of vehicles and frisking pedestrians in border areas are amongst the measures being taken as security forces in West Bengal go on high alert to foil any attempt by militants to disrupt the forthcoming assembly elections.
The international borders in north Bengal with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh would be sealed 48 hours before polling day, April 18, North Bengal Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ranvir Kumar said. The six-phased elections begin April 18 and end May 10.
Police in the state's northern areas held a meeting with the Border Security Force (BSF), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and other security agencies earlier this week at Panitanki on the India-Nepal border under Siliguri sub-division and decided to tighten security on inter-state borders, he said.
Police forces are working in coordination with the border guards to preempt militant attacks and prevent untoward incidents in the volatile region during the assembly polls, said officials.
Security arrangements have been tightened across the six north Bengal districts.
The Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) and state police are conducting vehicle checks and surprise checks, and interrogating people they are suspicious of.
Divisional Commissioner of Jalpaiguri AK Singh said the security forces had been ordered to keep maximum vigil to ensure free and fair election for 54 seats in north Bengal.
Patrolling by SSB, BSF, CPMF and West Bengal Police has been intensified along the porous borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to prevent any anti-national element and mischievous groups from sneaking into the state.
Devendra Prakash Singh, superintendent of Darjeeling police, said 11 companies of CPMF troopers had been deployed in the three trouble-hit hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district - Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, where the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) is fighting for the creation of separate state of Gorkhaland.
Rajbanshis, led by the Greater Coochbehar People's Association (GCPA), are in favour of a separate state comprising the territory of the former Cooch Behar Kingdom.