Extremists regrouping, says Meghalaya ex-CM

Extremists, dormant for some time, have been regrouping in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya, a former Chief Minister has said.

The police have confirmed the “increasing activities” by some groups but said they were essentially criminals trying to take advantage of the vacuum after the disbanding or surrender of most outfits.

“The State government should take a serious note of the regrouping of extremists in the Garo Hills. We have reports that the cadres are moving about with sophisticated weapons,” senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told reporters in State capital Shillong.

He criticised the National People’s Party-led alliance government for allegedly undoing the efficient system the Congress had put in place to track the movement of extremist groups and foil attempts to raise new outfits.

Superintendent of Police of West Garo Hills district Vivekananda Singh said they have been receiving inputs on criminals regrouping for the past three months. “We have been directed by the police headquarters to nip them in the bud,” he stated, adding that abduction for ransom and extortion were the objectives of these criminals.

Explosives recovery

On August 1, the police recovered explosive materials from Umdu village in Ri-Bhoi district and arrested a person. The explosives were linked to the arrest of two others on July 23 from Tura, the largest urban centre in the Garo Hills region.

Meghalaya has had 21 extremist groups since 1992 when the Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council was formed. The group split into the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) following inter-tribe differences.

While the banned GNLC, some of whose leaders have refused to surrender, caters to Garo tribal nationalism, the HNLC is specific to the cause of the Khasi community.

Killings, abductions and extortion were routine in the Garo Hills region for almost two decades until most of them were tamed through counter-insurgency operations by 2018.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 9:02:01 AM |

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