The preparation for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are on in full swing. Various steps to ensure safe and secure elections are also being taken. The seven-phase election in Uttar Pradesh will begin on February 4 and end with the counting of votes on March 11.
The preparations for safe polls are not just taking place in Uttar Pradesh. The 5th and 13th battalions of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) will be deployed in the upcoming the upcoming Punjab and Uttar Pradesh polls. The decision has been taken after the Union Home Ministry requested for a counter-insurgency trained force in both the states.
But, how did TSR became one of the most experience battalions to combat insurgency and maintain law and order?
Harmony between tribals and non-tribals has been going strong for a long time despite the large-scale migration of non-tribals. But during the second half of 1970s, organised tribal militancy started spreading roots in the state. Strong feelings of social and economic deprivation which gave birth to insecurities with communal feeling and ambition of political power came in the minds of a section of tribal youths. As a result, the untoward ethnic riots took place in June 1980 when more than 1300 people including both tribal and non-tribals were killed.
Keeping in mind the entire on-the-edge scenario in 1980, the Tripura Government had decided to create a force which will be of a similar pattern of Central Para Military Force (CPMF) to meet the challenges. Consequently in 1983, Tripura Legislative Assembly passed Tripura State Rifles Act 1983. On March 12, 1984, the 1st Battalion TSR came into existence. This was followed by emerging of other battalions.
The battalion after rigorous training and strict discipline proved fruitful in handling the insurgency in the state. In 2010, TSR was deployed for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
This is not the first time that TSR battalions are being used in other state polls. Previously, they were sent to Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Mizoram and West Bengal, to provide special security during polls.
The TSR battalions are trained in anti-insurgency operations. They were constituted in March 1984 to deal with terrorism. While seventy five per cent of the troopers are from Tripura, others are from across the country.
They are specially trained in managing counter-insurgency operations in the state, security of VIPs/ vital installations etc. performance of escort duties etc. along with maintaining law and order, assisting the civil administration in relief and rescue work, natural calamities, providing security in conflict areas and in protection of life and property in the event of any disturbance therein.
Presently there are twelve battalions of TSR in the state out of which nine Battalions especially the 5th and 13th are India Reserve Battalions. The India Reserve battalions can be deployed anywhere in the country by the Home Ministry.