As Opposition leader Manik Sarkar urged Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday to bring back Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans deployed outside the Northeast state on long-term duty, the ruling BJP dismissed the call as an attempt by the former at “making his presence felt”.
In a letter to the chief minister, Sarkar wrote that the paramilitary force was raised to fight armed insurgency in the state. While it has provisions for deploying its personnel with the India Reserve Battalion for short periods outside the state, some jawans are being sent for long periods. “It’s found that food, lodging and other facilities essential for TSR jawans aren’t done in the states where they are sent on duty. So the jawans are facing numerous challenges, their morale is affected and they are facing frustration. This is detrimental for Tripura…,” the Opposition leader’s letter reads.
No reaction was available from the chief minister’s office on Sarkar’s letter. However, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said the concerns raised by the Opposition leader, who was the chief minister for four terms till 2018, were misplaced. “It’s the rule that India Reserve Battalion personnel are posted across the country. The Opposition leader is aware of it as well. It seems he is trying to make his presence felt by raising this subject,” Bhattacharya said.
The paramilitary force was formed under the Tripura State Rifles Act, 1983, passed by the state Assembly. Its first battalion came into existence on March 12, 1984. There are twelve battalions of the force in the state. A battalion of the counter-insurgency force was deployed in Delhi in 2019 on a long-term internal security task other than poll duty. A few companies of the force were posted in Chhattisgarh to provide security for Coal India Limited’s mining operations. The anti-insurgency force has also provided protection for elections in over 16 states.