Shillong, April 9: Meghalaya police today claimed they had been obtaining accurate information from within the rank and file of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in the wake of differences between them.
The claim was made a day after GNLA “commander-in-chief” Sohan D. Shira managed to escape the police dragnet again when security forces busted his camp around 2km south of Bawegre village in East Garo Hills district yesterday.
“At present there is a rift between senior cadres of the GNLA not because of any ideological difference, but because of share of money being collected. Because of this rift, the police are getting good intelligence inputs from within the organisation itself,” Meghalaya director-general of police N. Ramachandran told reporters.
Indicating that people who are close to Shira are the ones who are providing the inputs, the police chief also warned that the security forces would be “absolutely ruthless” in dealing with the outfit. “We are getting very accurate information from within his (Shira) own organisation. There is infighting within the GNLA and some very senior cadres are giving us the information which has helped us.”
Ramachandran also said none of the police informers have been killed by the outfit, repudiating the claim usually made by the GNLA whenever it exterminated civilians.
“Those who have been killed by the GNLA were not police informers. In fact, they were very innocent people,” he said, adding that the people are “fully cooperating” with the police in dealing with militancy.
Asked why Shira managed to give security forces the slip every time a raid was conducted, the DGP said: “The terrain (where the camps are located) is very difficult and inaccessible.Going by the amount of firepower which the police confiscated after yesterday’s raid, it seems that the group was planning something major. Timely action by the police has averted a major catastrophe.”
After busting the camp yesterday morning, security forces recovered 66 high-explosive bombs, a single-barrel muzzle-loading gun, a mobile phone and incriminating documents.
Ramachandran also said the arms were being provided to the outfit by Ulfa and NSCN.
“They (GNLA) have been basically collecting money and part of it is being used for arms collection,” the DGP said adding that even the anti-talks faction of the NDFB had been aiding the outfit.
He also said the police were obtaining excellent results from the combing operations conducted against the GNLA.
“We have had excellent results with the kind of precise strikes we have made. The outfit’s top leadership is actually on the run. We have issued clear instructions to the security forces to avoid collateral damages and civilian casualties,” Ramachandran said.
The police chief also pleaded ignorance when asked about the whereabouts of GNLA “chairman” Champion R. Sangma.
Sangma, a former deputy superintendent of police, was arrested by Bangladeshi security forces from Mymensingh district on November 23 last year.