Meghalaya seeks central assistance to nab rebel leader

July 19th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, July 19 (IANS) Meghalaya Tuesday asked the central government to persuade Bangladesh to nab Champion R. Sangma, a rogue Indian policeman turned secessionist rebel leader hiding in that neighbouring country.

Champion, the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chief 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.

“We have informed the MHA (ministry of home affairs) about Champion’s presence in Bangladesh, and requested them to take up the matter with Bangladesh,” Meghalaya Home Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh told IANS.

Stating that the Meghalaya has shared a detailed intelligence report with the MHA about Champion’s activities and his safe-house in Bangladesh, Lyngdoh exuded confidence that Bangladesh would take action against the GNLA rebel leader.

Meanwhile, an Indian intelligence official said Bangladesh’s security agencies are tracking down the movement of Champion in and around that country.

“He is on the run and it is just a matter of time for them to confirm his identity and he too will fall into the hands of Bangladesh security agencies,” the intelligence official told IANS.

Asked if the government is mulling to tag GNLA as a banned organisation, the minister said: “At the moment, there are no such no plans, but the government has taken all steps to neutralise the GNLA.”

Champion, a Meghalaya Police official-turned outlaw, has been camping in Bangladesh for the past three months and frequently travelled to Dhaka from Modhipur town of Tangil district in that country.

Meghalaya Police had earlier confirmed the operational relationship of the GNLA with leaders of a Bangladesh-based rebel group, A’chik Special Dragon Party.

“He (Champion) is there (Bangladesh) to set up training camps with the help of A’chik Special Dragon Party and both these groups have arrived at mutual understanding to help each other,” S.K. Jain, the intelligence chief of Meghalaya Police, told IANS.

The group is believed to have its large presence in Bangladesh’s Mynmensing district, bordering Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region, which has large concentration of tribal Garo population.

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 GNLA’s foot soldiers are deserters, mostly from the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and the Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF).

Meghalaya, especially the Garo Hill region, the most backward region, is being used as a safe haven for various northeast-based militants groups.

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