Wednesday, 4 May 2011

President To Honour Tripura Police, First For Eastern India

Tripura, which has earned kudos in India for stamping out three decades of terrorism, will get another feather in its cap later this month when its police force, which traces its history to 686 years back, will be conferred the President's Colours in recognition of the distinguished service it has rendered.

'After India's independence (in 1947), the Tripura Police will be the first police force in eastern India to be conferred the President's Colours,' state police chief K. Saleem Ali told IANS.

According to Ali, the police forces of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have been accorded this distinction in the past.

'President Pratibha Patil is expected to come to Tripura to confer the Colours at a function to be held later this month. The date for the function has not yet been finalised,' said Ali, a 1978 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.

'After the president's ceremonial conferring of the Colours, every member of the Tripura Police unit would be given a badge containing an impression of the Colours,' he added.

He said that the Tripura Police's most elite unit, the Tripura State Rifles (TSR), has earned kudos from the prime minister of India and many state governments, besides various central paramilitary forces, for successfully flushing out terrorism.

The TSR has also successfully discharged election-related duties in many states, including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal, besides the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last October.

The Tripura Police recently launched 'Prayaas,' a multi-pronged community policing scheme to reach out to the people, root out crime against women and to completely flush out terrorism.

According to an official document, Tripura's police force, one of India's oldest, was constituted during princely rule in 1325.

'Raja Ratna Manikya (1325-1350) was considered to be the first king of Tripura who brought considerable reforms in the administration as well as in the indigenous police system in the line of Muslim administrative system of Bengal during his regime,' the official document says.

At the end of several hundred years of rule by 184 kings, on Oct 15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state came under the control of the government of India according to a merger agreement signed between Kanchan Prabha Devi, the regent maharani, and C. Rajagopalachari, the governor general of India.

During British rule, the princely state of Tripura extended up to what was called 'Chakla Roshanabad' comprising Comilla, Brahman Baria districts in entirety and parts of Habiganj, Sylhet and Noakhali districts that are now in Bangladesh.

At that time there was also the 'Binidias', a special type of police under the direct control of the king.

'They acted as conduits to inform the tribal chiefs about the firmans (orders) of the king and also were empowered to arrest any person for defying the king's orders,' Panna Lal Roy, a writer and historian, told IANS.

He said successive kings had reformed the policing systems during the princely rule.

'Tripura's last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur's (1923 to 1947) reign was the most turbulent period in the history of Tripura and India also. Political activities got new momentum. During communal riots in Bengal, a large number of refugees entered the state causing demographic change and ethnic tension in some places,' Roy said, quoting from 'Rajmala', Tripura's official royal history book.

This, according to an official document, triggered the first organised armed tribal rebellion, known as 'Senkrak,' and which manifested itself in the mid-1960s in parts of northern and western Tripura. 'This movement was started as a reaction to settling down of non-tribal refugees in the tribal reserve forest areas.'

'Strong feelings of social and economic deprivation and insecurity combined with communal feeling and ambition for political power deposited in the minds of a section of tribal youth. These feelings, mixed with adventurism and aid from foreign agencies, got stronger in the later part of the 1970s. As a result, the unfortunate ethnic riots took place in June 1980 when more than 1,300 tribals and non-tribals got killed by each other and large-scale arson and damage of properties also took place,' the document said.

Security and terrorism expert Manas Paul Said: 'In 2000, insurgency in Tripura was at its peak when a total of 453 civilians and 61 security personnel were mowed down by different separatist outfits.'

'From 2001 onwards, the local police, supported by the ruling political leaders and people in general, embarked upon to defeat the separatist outfits decisively,' Paul said, adding that in 2009, only eight civilians and a security man were killed while since last year, only one civilian has been killed.