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19 Jun 2017

Police beef up intelligence game to outwit GJM

Dwaipayan Ghosh | TOI | Jun 19, 2017, KOLKATA/ DARJEELING: Major changes in the intelligence-gathering network, changes in the deployment pattern of security personnel, nightlong raids on facilitators of the movement rather than the leaders of the GJM and an overall restraint from security personnel - all of this was in full view in what many believed was a crucial Sunday in the Hills.
Top police sources said they were aware the three deaths of GJM supporters was an emotional issue and that corrective steps were the need of the hour to control protesters. "We have brought in old hands in state intelligence, people who have past experiences working there in 2007 and 2013. We wanted men who did not depend only on technology, but those who had their ears to the ground," a senior officer posted in Darjeeling said. The top brass, both in Kolkata and Darjeeling, have, over the past week, repeatedly admitted an intelligence failure on the Hills developments. "We found that GJM was hoarding food each night from certain ration dealers," said a top source. "We even traced men who would be travelling from Patlebas with cash to villages in Sonada and Bijonbari and distributing cash. There are around a dozen jeeps that are travelling out of Darjeeling town each night and stocking up ration, most of them using GJM flags. More importantly, this logistics team is dispensing information each night with the least amount of risk. We are on the trail of a robust machinery working round the clock to keep the agitation going. We now know how GJM chief Bimal Gurung wanted to spend the Rs 32 lakh cash we recovered from his residence," he added. While five arrests have been made, a dozen others were questioned on Saturday night.
By Sunday morning, the police and paramilitary personnel had completed another important exercise. "We needed agile young men - preferably hailing from the Hills - to lead our blockade teams. We identified 22 points whereby we could keep a 15,000-strong crowd rooted to the main roads of Chowk Bazar. We kept the middle-aged cops specially focused on guiding the rally and negotiating with the agitators, while the younger ones manned the entry and exit points," claimed an officer. The IPS officers in charge of operations refused an official comment but said it was the night that "was dictating the GJM strategies the next morning".
The biggest change, perhaps, was the police decision to halt raids for a day at the residences of top GJM leaders. Even at Chowk Bazar, which witnessed skirmishes, the mood was to wait. "Thankfully, today they stayed away from any violence and it would have been foolhardly to use force," said an officer.
From Monday, the cops are expecting back-up to arrive. "GJM is desperate to keep the agitation going in the Dooars and Terai region so that we cannot divert forces to Darjeeling. But reinforcement from the plains are likely to arrive in the next 48 hours. Hopefully, we can recover some more lost ground," concluded a senior officer.
(Source & Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/police-beef-up-intelligence-game-to-outwit-gjm/articleshow/59211173.cms)

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