Meghalaya examining GNLA activities ahead of ban


Shillong : Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Thursday said the government was examining the activities of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) before declaring it an outlawed group.

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“We are still examining their (GNLA) activities and threats before imposing a ban on them. Everything is under the scanner,” Sangma said as he warned politicians sympathising with the outfit.

“It will be disastrous for those (politicians) who are sympathisers and are hand-in-glove. I want to send a clear message that the government has access to all these inputs,” he said.

The GNLA, which is headed by police officer-turned outlaw Champion R. Sangma, has unleashed a reign of terror in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills in western part of Meghalaya.

On Sunday, the tribal Garo outfit had threatened to bomb commercial places across Meghalaya if the government did not withdraw central forces from the Garo Hills region and stop the ongoing offensive crackdown.

The threat came after personnel of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and Border Security Force (BSF) were deployed in the Garo Hills region.

Champion, who claims to be fighting for a ‘sovereign Garoland’ in the western area of Meghalaya, has been camping in Bangladesh for several months in search of support.

The outfit has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group, A’chik Special Dragon Party.

“All necessary steps have been taken to neutralise these activities, and we have also asked the police to maintain better coordination with the local population to tackle them,” Sangma said.

“All citizens must support the government in the fight against such forces, which are against the spirit of civilised democracy and development of the state,” Sangma added.

The GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, is fighting for a sovereign Garoland. It has forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland.

More than 10 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the Garo Hills during the last one year by GNLA rebels.

The outfit had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore on government officials, ministers, legislators and businessmen.

The Garo Hills region is being used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militant groups.