Focus on boosting Meghalaya Police

SHILLONG: Terrorists triggering violence has almost become the order of the day in Garo Hills, and so the focus is now on this insurgency-ravaged region of Meghalaya.

The Centre has rushed 10 companies of additional paramilitary forces to assist the state police to contain the situation in this region.

The Centre will dispatch five more companies of paramilitary forces soon to the Garo Hills, chief minister Mukul Sangma said even as he expressed gratitude to the Centre for having responded positively to the request of the state by promptly dispatching central security forces.

Sangma, however, stressed on strengthening the state's police force to tackle rising terrorism in the Garo Hills. Underscoring that strengthening of the police force and creation of a Special Force-10 to tackle insurgency was under way, Sangma said several schemes for gainful employment of the youth so that they are not lured into militancy, were also being implemented.

He also said a list of interlocutors to hold dialogues with terror outfit Garo National Liberation Council (GNLA) has been forwarded to the central government for the latter's approval. Besides, the government has also appointed two interlocutors to hold dialogues with splinter groups, on condition that they abjured violence, the chief minister said.

Speaking in the assembly last Friday, Sangma said there were 10 militant outfits in the state. "Some of the outfits have access to state-of-the-art weapons. However, no definitive information is available about the number of weapons acquired by each outfit," he added.

"The major outfits operating in the Garo Hills region have been demanding a separate Garoland. Mushrooming new outfits are mostly groups of deserters from ANVC, GNLA, etc, who are engaged in extortion, kidnapping, etc., with no specific demands or ideology," the chief minister added.

The chief minister also said the Assam-based ULFA and NDFB (anti-talks) were also active in the Garo Hills and were in cohorts with the GNLA. He also said that members of several outfits in the Garo Hills included those from Assam and even Bangladesh.

On the other hand, the hunt is on to nab the two motorbike borne assailants who threw a hand grenade at the Tura police outpost on Friday. The grenade fell on the rooftop and failed to explode even as the bikers managed to flee.