Shillong, Sept. 18: It was a phone call that changed his life, perhaps forever.
The call was from an “unknown” person speaking in Bengali to self-styled “corporal” of the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Jingkyrmen Wanniang alias Tom, who surrendered today before the BSF here.
Wanniang’s surrender was the fallout of a “well-planned” strategy by the BSF intelligence team, which established contact with the hardcore militant in Bangladesh and motivated him to lay down arms and join the mainstream, BSF sources disclosed.
Wanniang, 30, surrendered before BSF deputy inspector-general (Jowai sector) P.C. Sharma along with a pistol, magazine and ammunition. He hails from Mawpdai village under Mawsynram in East Khasi Hills.
Before crossing over to India from Lyngkhat in Jaintia Hills yesterday, Wanniang said he had received phone calls for about two weeks from an unknown person, who assured him he would help him come to India to meet his relatives. Wanniang joined the outfit in December 2002 and underwent arms training in 2003 at the Arsumer camp at Rangamati in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He remained there till 2009 and shifted to Shrimangal area of Moulvibazar district.
Wanniang was closely associated with senior HNLC cadre “Hep Koit”, the “area commander” of Dawki. The BSF said he was involved in extortion drives in Meghalaya.
“When I underwent training, there were around 200 other cadres. But today the group has around 50 old cadres and 30 new ones,” Wanniang said.
Wanniang said the lower rung cadres had a difficult time during any crisis especially when they fell sick. “There is nobody to take care when we fall sick. We used to be in a precarious situation and were left to fend for ourselves and had to earn our living doing odd jobs,” he recollected.
According to Wanniang, two other cadres — Lewis and Reming — also want to surrender.
From January till August, BSF troops have apprehended four Multa, four HNLC, two PLA, seven GNLA, two NDFB, two GNLA and one each of KLO, KYKL and ULFA cadres.