Forensic lab for Assam hill districts

Guwahati, May 20 : The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) here will open a zonal laboratory at Diphu after the increased spate of violence in the twin hill districts of Assam.
North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong witnessed 70 incidents of violence, including blasts, in the past year. This year alone, 20 such incidents have been reported from the two districts.
“We had plans to have zonal laboratories at Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Bongaigaon and Silchar but Diphu was included following the increase in violence in the two districts recently,” a senior official at the state Forensic Science Laboratory here said.
He said apart from these zonal laboratories, a regional laboratory would also be set up at the Police Training Centre (PTC) at Dergaon in Golaghat district.
These laboratories would start functioning by the end of this year, the official said.
He added that there were plans to set up a forensic science training institute for the police, judicial officials and other agencies at the proposed regional laboratory at Dergaon.
Established in 1967 in Shillong and shifted to Guwahati in 1969, FSL is the main laboratory catering to the Northeast and is recognised by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).
All the major cases in the seven northeastern states are referred to the laboratory here.
Sources said the decision to set up zonal laboratories in Assam was taken after it became difficult for the laboratory to control its activities throughout the violence-hit state.
“It becomes a lengthy process for us to send our men to every blast site to collect samples. By the time our men arrive at a particular location in remote areas, several vital clues are lost,” the official said.
The official said these laboratories would be set up under the modernisation of state police forces scheme, which aims at the upgrade of the existing facilities.
Sources in the FSL said though the laboratory had distributed 24 well-equipped vehicles (Tempo Trax) to the district police throughout the state to collect samples from the incident sites, most of these vehicles were being misused because of the lack of interest on the part of the police personnel.
Several police personnel were also being trained for the purpose.
Citing an example, the source said a vehicle sanctioned for Jorhat (AS01P 0334) in 2003-2004 is currently being used by the district police to ferry their wards to school.
“We no longer can rely on other agencies. We need to have our own facilities and own men in various locations of the state,” the official said.