Counter-insurgency force in West Bengal by August

Indrani Dutta

KOLKATA: West Bengal will have a 1,000-strong counter- insurgency force on the pattern of the Grey Hound forces of Andhra Pradesh and also a training school for tackling terrorism. The force, comprising young officers with two to four years' service, will be ready to take positions by August. They will be trained in the forested areas of the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.

Director General of Police (DGP) Bhupinder Singh told journalists at the Secretariat that it may be possible to raise this force within the next two to three months. A core team has already received training, he said, adding that while the training centre will be located at Salua in Paschim Medinipur, the training grounds would be the forested areas in Salboni, also in the same district. Officers of the rank of an inspector-general will be in charge of the force.

An officer from Andhra Pradesh with 15 years experience in tackling insurgency will also impart training to the West Bengal force. The project is expected to cost around Rs.27 crore. Mr. Singh said that in Andhra Pradesh, the entire police force, from a constable to a DGP have to take this training.

Mr. Singh said the State government has identified land at three sites in West Bengal for setting up a counter insurgency and anti-terrorism school. The locations are in North Bengal, in Paschim Medinipur and Purulia.

He said the Centre agreed to help the State with this project following a request by the then Home Secretary to his counterpart at the Centre.

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