NRC Assam: Security Beefed Up, Section 144 Imposed
GUWAHATI: With the date for publication of final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list nearing, security measures have been tightened across the state of Assam. The district administration and police have taken a slew of measures to ensure peace and public order ahead of and after the publication of the contentious list and these will remain in force till further notice, officials said.
As per the orders of Supreme Court, the final NRC list is scheduled to be published on August, 31.
"Ahead of the release of the final NRC list, we have taken care of all the security arrangements. Police and other security forces have also been briefed about the arrangements. Superintendents of Police in all districts have sensitized the police personnel in order to ensure proper security arrangements," Kuladhar Saikia, Director General of Police (DGP), Assam informed the media.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr PC have also been clamped on vulnerable areas of the state, including the capital city of Guwahati. Section 144 Cr PC prohibits assembly of more than five persons, agitation, demonstration, procession inciting communal violence, carrying of arms, ammunition, explosive substances or weapon of any nature in any public placers or vehicles as well as use of loudspeakers.
This has been done as some specified and unspecified persons, groups, organizations or associations are likely to disturb normal functioning of offices, movement of public and traffic flow in the vulnerable areas, besides holding demonstrations and agitations, a senior police official said.
Earlier, on August 23, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the law and order situation of the state with the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police where he had directed them to maintain close relations with the influential persons and opinion makers to ensure that there is no misunderstanding among the people about the NRC process.
Appealing to the people to maintain peace, he said, "The Assam government is here to look after people's interest. We are confident that all sections of society will come forward to maintain peace and tranquility for all times to come.”
On August 28, commissioner of police, Guwahati, Deepak Kumar, held a meeting with all DCPs (Deputy Commissioner of Police), and OCs (Officers-in-charge) to address the safety issues and take appropriate measures.
"We have reviewed the law and order situation in the city and the police force has been sensitized about the issue. Over the past few months, the police have conducted meetings and discussions with several organizations including nagarik committees, intellectuals and civil society and public meetings on the basis of which the security plan has been formed," Kumar informed G Plus.
He added that the guidelines sent by the DGP office have also been incorporated into the plan.
Similarly, Kamrup (Metro) deputy commissioner, Biswajit Pegu, talking to G Plus said, “We are geared up for the occasion and although we do not foresee any law and order issue, we are prepared for any kind of situation post the publication of the NRC final list.”
17 companies of CAPF deployed for NRC in Guwahati
City police has deployed a total of 17 companies of CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) personnel in the city to remain ready to handle any situation, a highly placed source in the city police informed G Plus.
Nine out of the 17 companies have been deployed for NRC duty, three have been deployed to maintain law and order situation while five companies (one at Raj Bhawan, three at Janata Bhawan and one at RBI, CBI, SIB and SB) are responsible for providing security in the city.
“Out of the 78 NRC Seva Kendras in the city, 31 zones have been identified as vulnerable. The police have earmarked 15 NSKs as ‘very sensitive’, 16 as ‘sensitive’ and the remaining 47 as ‘comparatively safe’,” the source further added.
It may be mentioned that there are 31 NSKs under East Police District, 29 under Central Police District and 18 under West Police District of the Guwahati police commissionerate. Further, there are 30 hearing centres and 144 disposing officers in the city.
Hatigaon, Sonapur, Azara, Kahikuchi, Maligaon, Fatasil, Kotabari, Dhirepara, Panjabari, Noonmati, Lachit Nagar, Ulubari, Bamunimaidam, Chandrapur and their adjacent areas are considered as sensitive zones under the Guwahati police commissionerate.
“Even though the sensitive zones have been identified, law and order incidents might occur at a place which is not considered a sensitive zone. So the police are prepared for any kind of exigency anywhere in the city,” the source told G Plus.
Police sources also revealed that the NRC headquarter located at Bhangagarh is under strict security vigil 24/7 and Z+ security is being provided to NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to ensure his safety.
Apart from the existing force of city police being in action, police have also involved nagarik committees and village defense groups for conducting night rounds with the respective police stations’ night duty patrolling parties during late night and early morning hours.