Thursday, June 20, 2024

Demand for bomb squad in all districts gains ground


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By Our Reporter

 Shillong: The State Police Headquarter has been asked to submit a proposal for formation of more bomb squads in the State.

“I have told the Police Headquarter to initially submit a proposal for formation of bomb squad at Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills,” Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh told reporters here on Wednesday.

Lyngdoh further said that the State Government would want bomb squads in place in all the seven district headquarters of the State.

However, he informed that in the mean time the Government would continuously send its police personnel for training to build the manpower required for the bomb squads in the State.

At present, there is one bomb squad in Shillong that caters to East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi and Jaintia Hills districts and another at Tura which caters to the three districts of Garo Hills.

Observers are of the opinion that going by present trends especially in strife-torn Garo Hills where the GNLA has learnt the art of using IEDs from the ULFA, it is imperative to have bomb squads in each of the district headquarters of Garo Hills.

On October 14 last, around 4kgs of IEDs was recovered from a Garo villager along the Assam-Meghalaya border. The explosives were meant for GNLA militants in Garo Hills.

Three weeks later, a team of Meghalaya Police commandos on Tuesday came under attack from Garo militants who fired at them and lobbed an IED which, however, did not explode. The incident took place at Rajarankati near Chokpot in South Garo Hills district. On both these occasions, it was the Tura-based bomb squad that had to rush to these two places.

Last Saturday’s recovery of an IED in Jowai had a similar tale. The bomb squad from Shillong had to rush to Jowai travelling through the difficult National Highway that is known for persistent gridlock. The team reached the site after two hours of the discovery.

“If luck was not on our side, the bomb could have exploded before the arrival of the bomb squad from Shillong,” stated a resident of Jowai who endorsed the demands of the NGOs for creation of a bomb disposal team in the district.

In Garo Hills, there is a six-member Police Bomb Squad in posted at Tura. A senior police official of the Western Range said that the team is well equipped, but conceded that time could be a factor in reaching a spot within the vast area that the squad has to cover.


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