Shillong, Dec. 2: Meghalaya director-general of police B. Kezo ruled out withdrawal of forces from Garo hills as demanded by the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) to release abducted Dadenggre block development officer P.K. Boro as the outfit’s deadline ended today.
Kezo, who arrived Shillong after reviewing the law and order situation in Garo hills, said the militants had to release two Assam-based traders yesterday owing to pressure from security forces.
Besides Meghalaya police special team, the CRPF and the BSF are also engaged in anti-insurgency operations in the three Garo hills districts.
“GNLA militants are on the run under constant pressure from security forces and they are also shifting the abducted block development officer from one place to another,” Kezo said, adding that the police forces would not give up the pursuit.
He said the forces would continue to hunt down GNLA militants, including their leaders, besides busting their hideouts.
Agreeing with chief minister Mukul Sangma’s recent statement, Kezo said GNLA militants should first surrender and lay down their arms and only then the government would think about withdrawing forces from Garo hills.
Kezo said the situation in Garo hills had improved to some extent after the security forces intensified their operations. “Of course, we are concerned over the abductions,” he said.
During the meeting with the police officials in Garo hills, Kezo told them to be hard on the militants and aggressively continue the operation to rescue the hostage.
“Our sources say the block development officer is safe and we are hopeful of rescuing him,” he added.
Chief minister Mukul Sangma had said in a recent statement that in a democratic nation, the government was duty-bound to protect the lives and property of its citizens. “In doing so, the government is constitutionally mandated to use appropriate force against those elements which pose a threat to its citizens. This includes the use of central paramilitary forces,” he said.
“The state government has come to know through media reports that the GNLA would resort to kidnapping of government servants and harm those unarmed civilian employees if the government fails to withdraw the special security forces currently engaged in the counter-insurgency operations in Garo hills and this is not acceptable to us,” the chief minister said.
According to the government, the GNLA is a group of armed militants and not ordinary criminals. This view has compelled the government to use specialised and well-equipped forces and other commandos. This is the only appropriate and effective way to deal with the threat posed by the GNLA to the lives and properties of the citizens. This is the solemn duty of the government in a democracy, the chief minister said.
The chief minister also urged the GNLA militants to surrender their weapons immediately and adopt non-violent democratic means to express their perceived grievances for immediate attention of the government.
“After the armed threat from GNLA is withdrawn through surrender of weapons, whose possession and use is an offence under the law of the land, there would be no need for the special forces to remain in Garo hills,” Sangma added.