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Centre sends NIA IG G.P. Singh to Assam to quell stir

G.P.Singh

G.P.Singh   | Photo Credit: Twitter/G.P. Singh

His tenure in the anti-terror probe agency was scheduled to end in November 2020

With violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, swelling in Assam, the Centre repatriated G.P. Singh, a senior IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre who had been posted at the National Investigation Agency (NIA), back to the State to quell the violence.

The 1991-batch officer was directed to go to Assam on Wednesday night after the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

Posted in the NIA as an Inspector General, Mr. Singh’s tenure in the anti-terror probe agency was scheduled to end in November 2020.

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As reports of arson poured in from Assam, Mr. Singh was rushed to the State by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The orders were issued after Mr. Shah’s meeting with Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the former’s office in Parliament building on Wednesday night.

Mr. Singh was at a wedding reception when he received the directive to replace Mukesh Agrawal, Additional Director General of Police, law and order, in Assam.

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A government order said that Mr. Singh was posted as ADGP, law and order, pending repatriation from Central deputation “in the interest of public service”. “Back to Assam...!!!The Karmabhumi,” Mr. Singh tweeted at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday.

When The Hindu called him on Thursday evening, gunshots could be heard in the background.

A senior Home Ministry official in Delhi said that the Ministry was monitoring the situation closely but added that the decision to snap Internet connectivity in Assam had been taken by the State government following reports from the intelligence agencies. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that about 5,000 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel had already been sent to the State and that army columns had been asked to conduct flag marches in sensitive locations.

Known to have led a number of operations against insurgent outfits, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), during the initial years of his career, Mr. Singh came on Central deputation to the NIA in 2013.

In the NIA, Mr. Singh was heading investigations into the 2017 terror funding case related to Jammu and Kashmir, the Pulwama attack, several cases registered against various insurgent outfits in the northeast and the cross border arms smuggling case in Punjab.

He had camped in Kashmir after the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a car-borne suicide bomber rammed into their bus.

Mr. Singh is one of the few police officers granted personal security cover by the Centre. Three CRPF personnel provide him proximate security at all times.

He was also overseeing the trials in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah blasts. Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Aseemanand, alleged to be a prime accused, was acquitted in all the three cases and his release was never challenged by the NIA in a higher court. The NIA, however, secured the conviction of the other suspects.

Mr. Singh was also monitoring the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in which current BJP MP from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, was one of the accused. In 2016, the NIA gave a clean chit to Ms. Thakur and watered down charges against Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit by dropping charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Seven persons were killed and 79 injured in twin explosions when people were coming out of prayers during Ramzan on September 29, 2008. The case was earlier investigated by the Maharashtra ATS under the leadership of slain IPS officer Hemant Karkare.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:23:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-sends-nia-ig-gp-singh-to-assam-to-quell-stir/article30294409.ece

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