Shillong, Jan. 18: The fragile law and order situation in the Garo hills continues to haunt high-ranking government officials.
Last night, a group of suspected militants, who had reportedly fired a few rounds in the air, allegedly chased the official vehicle of South Garo Hills deputy commissioner Chinmay Gotmare.
The incident took place between Jaksongram and Adugre villages, 15km from Baghmara, around 8.30pm when Gotmare was on his way to the district headquarters of South Garo Hills, from here. The area is more than 400km from here.
Sources today said on reaching Jaksongram, nearly 7km from Baghmara, Gotmare’s car got stuck along with several trucks in a traffic snarl.
The area is along National Highway 62, and coal-laden trucks ply on the narrow roads of the highway.
When Gotmare’s vehicle reached Adugre, about 4km from Baghmara, a group of suspected militants were spotted, the sources said.
“The militants asked the driver to stop the vehicle and even fired a few rounds in the air. But the driver drove the vehicle back in reverse gear till it reached an area where it could turn before heading back to Jaksongram,” a source said.
While the vehicle was moving in reverse gear for nearly 100 metres, the suspected militants chased the Scorpio, the sources added. Gotmare was accompanied by his personal security officer.
When police were alerted, security forces were sent for combing operations and to provide cover and escort Gotmare to Baghmara. No damage was reported in the incident.
The superintendent of police, South Garo Hills, Davis N. Marak, said a Maruti which was travelling ahead of Gotmare’s vehicle, was damaged when the suspected militants fired at it. No one was, however, injured in the incident.
The owner of the Maruti, who hails from Baghmara, lodged an FIR this morning, Marak said.
Confirming the incident, Gotmare said: “There was a difference of about 7 metres between us and the militants, when we turned back and drove away. They chased us for about 100 metres asking us to stop and fired in the air. We stopped at the same place and waited for the police team to help us out. There was a huge pile-up of coal trucks on the road as the militants were collecting money from these vehicles. We were really lucky and had a providential escape.”
An inquiry into the incident is being done to find out if the attack was pre-planned or just a coincidence. The superintendent of police, Davis Marak, confirmed the incident saying the needle of suspicion points to involvement of the GNLA though nothing could be confirmed as of now.
The district police chief was unsure whether the armed group was extorting money from the truckers or serving demand notes.
With the ongoing coal-trading season, militants have allegedly been on extortion sprees.