Borders of election-bound northeast states to be sealed
Agartala, Feb 3 : The international and national borders of three northeastern states which will see elections will be sealed to check the smuggling of arms, officials said Sunday.
The Election Commission has told the authorities to beef up border checks in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
"The Commission has directed all concerned to take all possible steps to seal the international borders besides deploying additional BSF and Assam Rifles troopers," a poll panel official told IANS.
Four northeastern states - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam - share a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh. Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh share a 1,640-km border with Myanmar.
Most of the international border is unfenced and runs through dense forests and mountainous, making it porous, vulnerable and advantageous for terrorists and others.
Tripura will elect a new assembly Feb 14. Meghalaya and Nagaland will see elections Feb 23.
Tripura (856 km) and Meghalaya (443 km) border Bangladesh. Nagaland has a 215-km border with Myanmar.
The EC official said: "The borders of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland with other northeastern states would also be sealed to prevent interstate movement of criminals, militants and other armed goons.
"To seal the borders effectively, adequate para-military troopers - BSF and Assam Rifles -- and other security forces would be deployed along both international and domestic boundaries."
A Tripura police official said over 250 companies of paramilitary forces and state armed forces would make the election incident free.
"Armed police forces of Punjab, Kerala and Mizoram would be deployed in and around the polling stations and counting centres," he told IANS.
The poll panel has also formed flying squads to check illegal arms and distribution of money to woo voters.