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GNLA cadre killed in encounter

Dhubri, Feb. 21: An unidentified Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) cadre was killed in an encounter with police and the army at Dokapara under Lakhipur police station of Goalpara district last night.

The police recovered a 7.65mm US-made pistol, two magazines, seven rounds of ammunition, letter heads of GNLA and a bike from the victim, a police source in Lakhipur said.

He said the army and the police launched an operation acting on specific information and spotted the cadre riding a bike at Dokapara forest area. “When the cadre was asked to stop, he fired at the security forces and in retaliatory fire, was killed,” the source said.

He said nine GNLA cadres and an Ulfa militant have been killed in Goalpara and Kamrup since December last year, including two on February 7, which points to rise in militant activities like abduction and extortion.

An intelligence source in Goalpara said the GNLA was on an extortion spree from contractors and businessmen operating in Dhubri, Goalpara and Kamrup districts bordering Garo hills in Meghalaya and those unable to cough up the amount, have been shifting their business elsewhere.

Traders and contractors said there were hardly any of their community left in Adugiri, Nabang, Mendipathar, Rongsai, Tikrikilla, Damra and Bajengdoba along Garo hills, who did not pay money to various outfits.

Dudhnoi circle inspector Bhuen Das admitted the movement of GNLA in areas along Garo hills and the increased frequency of kidnappings and extortions. “But businessmen barely share any information and in the absence of prior information about threats and extortion notes, the police cannot act,” Das said.

“Businessmen and traders have been paying money to run their business and the whole arrangement works if it is within their limit. But some are now leaving the place or closing down their business or work once extortion amounts stretch beyond their means,” a contractor of Krishnai said.