Shillong : A fierce gunbattle ensued in Meghalaya's restive West Garo Hills district Tuesday after Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels ambushed a vehicle of a senior police officer. No casualty was reported, police said. The gunbattle, which lasted for nearly an hour, began when a group of heavily armed GNLA rebels fired several shots at the vehicle of Ampati sub-divisional police officer Sacheng R. Marak travelling to Dalu from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills. A group of 10 GNLA rebels assembled on a hilltop at Ramdapara area and fired at the vehicle which Marak was in along with his bodyguards. "The rebels fired at the SDPO's vehicle from the top of the hill forcing our men to retaliated back. Though, there is no casualty on our side. The police officer and his men are safe and sound but the vehicle was hit by three bullets," Inspector General of Police (Western Range) F.D Sangma told IANS. Sangma said the rebels fled from the scene after police returned the fire. The GNLA, which is headed by police officer-turned outlaw Champion R. Sangma, is fighting for a Garoland in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills to be carved out of Meghalaya. The GNLA, which has over 100 rebels, including a few women cadres, operating in East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills, has been declared a terrorist outfit. Over 30 people, including security personnel, have been killed while more than 10 people were abducted for ransom by GNLA rebels in the last one year. In the past two months alone, 10 people were killed while two engineers of the government-run Meghalaya Energy Corp Ltd were abducted by GNLA.

Shillong, Feb 29 : Victims of rape and trafficking in matrilineal Meghalaya will now receive adequate compensation from the government. "Victims of rape and those who suffer mental agony due to kidnapping and trafficking will be compensated accordingly," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told reporters here. The cabinet has approved the Meghalaya Victims Compensation Scheme as per requirement of Section 357 A of the CrPC. The amended CrPC ensures that a person identified by a government authority as a victim in rape cases will be compensated Rs 50,000 while the latter will be paid Rs 25,000, Mukul said. However, the victims should petition a district legal service authority and a complaint with the officer-in-charge of the police station to avail of the scheme. Meghalaya registered only 26 rape cases in 2001 as compared to 130 in 2010. Rape of minors and women are continuing unabated in the state despite being known for its matrilineal character of respecting women folks. While there are more than 500 rape cases pending trial in various courts across the state, the official figure of cases pending trial till 2009 was 414. Out of the total 112 rape cases registered in Meghalaya in 2009, only seven were convicted.