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Threats loom large over polls

Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas of West Tripura ahead of elections to the state's two LS seats.
PTI | By Syed Sajjad Ali, Agartala
UPDATED ON MAY 15, 2004 04:59 PM IST

Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas of West Tripura ahead of elections to the state's two Lok Sabha seats on Thursday.

Election and police officials said the deployment is just a precautionary measure in view of an outlawed tribal group's threat to create trouble on polling day.

Thousands of security personnel have already been deployed for election and counter-insurgency duties. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said the border has been sealed to stop infiltration of militants from Bangladesh.

The CM confirmed that the army is guarding some sensitive locations in West Tripura. "All arrangements have been made to hold peaceful elections," Sarkar said.

The authorities are expecting by-and-large peaceful elections in other areas. But West Tripura, particularly Khowai, is an area of concern. There have been several encounters between security forces and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) in the run-up to the polls.

The ATTF has given a poll boycott call. The warning has cast a shadow in remote areas, where many faced the wrath of militants in the last elections.

The main militant group, NLFT, is silent after its two factions signed a 'ceasefire agreement' with the central and state governments last week.

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