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New outfit in Karbi Anglong

Nagaon, May 7: The presence of a new militant outfit in Karbi Anglong district came to light this morning, following an encounter in which one of its cadres was killed.

The Naga Rengma Hill Protection Force, formed in 2012, seeks a regional council for the Rengmas living in eastern Bokajan subdivision of the hill district.

The encounter took place at Kaham Rengso hill under Chowkihola police station in which the cadre, identified by his father as Tenkhenlo Rengma, 27, was killed. The father said Tenkhenlo had been away from home for the past seven years.

Police sources said a joint team of the police and Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of the army that raided the camp initially thought that the cadres belonged to Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers.

“The militants opened fire on the forces as soon as they reached the site. The forces retaliated and the exchange lasted for a few minutes. We suspect there were about half a dozen militants at the camp, but all except one managed to escape,” a police official said.

The team found the bullet-riddled body of Tenkhenlo in the camp. An AK-56 rifle, two hand grenades, a 9mm pistol, besides assorted ammunition, clothes and ration, among others, were recovered from the camp. The outfit’s identity was established from some documents found in the camp.

Seventeen Rengma villages in undivided Mikir hills (now Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao) were within the Rengma mouja during the British days. Later some families shifted to neighbouring Golaghat and Nagaland.

Different organisations representing the community have been continuing a democratic struggle for a regional council, comprising the Rengma-dominated areas in Bokajan within the existing Karbi Anglong autonomous council.

Rengmas are the second community after the Kukis in Karbi Anglong district to ask for a regional council.

The Kukis had placed their demand before New Delhi and Dispur nine years back.