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Central Forces start moving towards North Bengal from Jangalmahal

Central Forces start moving towards North Bengal from Jangalmahal

Kolkata: Central Forces deployed at Jangalmahal in Bengal started their movement towards North Bengal on Thursday for the first phase of elections scheduled in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar on April 11, after the state government agreed to release 29 companies of Central Forces presently deployed there.

The final deployment plan was settled after the CEO of Bengal Ariz Aftab held a detailed meeting with ADG (Law and Order) Siddh Nath Gupta, ADG (Armed Force) Ranvir Kumar and IG (BSF) Y B Kurania at the CEO's office on Thursday evening.

"We are trying to deploy Central Forces in all the sensitive booths, while the

non-critical booths will be managed by forces of the

state," a senior official of the CEO's office said.

The forces that are expected to reach North Bengal by Friday, will add to the seven companies of BSF already posted in the two North Bengal districts, taking the total count of Central Forces to 37.

The official did not rule out the possibility of additional forces and said that talks are on with the Election Commission of India for sanctioning another 30 to 35 companies. "There has been no order yet but we are expecting it by Friday," the official said.

Meanwhile, the state police will deploy 9,000 state armed force personnel for managing the 3,844 polling stations of the two districts.

It has been learnt that the state agreed to release the existing 29 companies of Central Forces from Jangalmahal after the Election Commission assured that

the forces will be commissioned for the purpose of election

only.

There is always the fear that release of forces from Jangalmahal may lead to breakdown of law and order in the area, which was a hotbed for Maoists during the previous government's (Left Front) rule.

Sources in the commission said that out of the 29 companies of Central Forces, 11 companies are being sent to Alipurduar while 18 companies are being sent to Cooch Behar.

"The law and order situation is under control and we would like to assure all the voters that there will be adequate forces both in the booths and on the road. We are sure about conducting a peaceful election," said Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjoy Basu.

The entire force management will be in the hands of the Police Observer and the Special Central Observer Vivek Dubey, who has already held a series of meetings with the top officials of the state.

"As per order from the Election Commission, we have already arranged vehicles for the forces which will carry them to North Bengal. They have already started to move and by Friday morning we will be able to release all the forces," a senior police officer of Purulia said.

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