Police, paramilitary to guard rly tracks in North Cachar Hills

GUWAHATI: The Union government has rejected requests made by the Assam government and railway ministry for deployment of army along railway tracks in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section of NC Hills district. Instead, the responsibility of manning the rail tracks in that particular section has been placed on the Assam Police and Central para-military forces.

This was decided at a security review meeting attended by senior Central and state government officials here on Thursday. A team of MHA officials, including special secretary (internal security) Raman Srivastava, joint secretary (North East) Naveen Verma and director general of RPF Ranjit Sinha, had visited the NC Hills on Tuesday to chalk out a strategy to tackle the Black Widows, the militant group which has held the entire district to ransom over the last couple of years.
As part of the strategy to rein in the Black Widows, the Centre directed that the Army, which has been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in NC Hills district, would continue with its present task in the vicinity of the railway tracks.
The meeting also decided that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) would be responsible for security of railway stations, railway staff colonies and other railway properties. Moreover, it has been decided to rush two companies of Rapid Action Force to the district to add to the 67 companies already deployed there to carry out counter-insurgency operations.

The new distribution of responsibilities among security forces is aimed at resuming train services on this rail section, sources said adding that the government plans to resume train services in the section within next couple of days. With militants of the Black Widows continuing their relentless attacks on trains in the distrrict, railway employees had also been demanding deployment of Army to provide security cover along rail tracks and at stations in the hill section for resumption the train services.
While passenger train service in this section has remained suspened for the last few months, goods train services, which resumed last month, had to be suspended again for fear of militant attacks. On an average four goods trains run in this section carrying essential commodities to the neighbouring states of Manipur, Mizoarm and Tripura and south Assam's Barak Valley.