| Novembirth Marak in Guwahati after his arrest. Picture by UB Photos |
Tura, June 15: Meghalaya’s most-wanted militant and self-styled chairman of the United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA) Chiindik Marak was brought here today from Guwahati for interrogation.
He was detained yesterday from a hospital in Guwahati by a special operation unit of Assam police. It is a prize catch for the police as Marak, 36, is involved in many heinous crimes, including killings, kidnappings and extortion in Garo hills.
“Assam police have handed Chiindik Marak over to Meghalaya police. He is wanted in several criminal cases here,” said superintendent of police, West Garo Hills, Mukesh Singh.
Marak was admitted to the hospital on June 10 under the care of Salsima D. Sangma of Guwahati. He was operated on June 12. His real name is Novembirth Marak and he hails from a locality here.
Meghalaya police said the arrest of the UALA chairman substantiates their information that militants from Garo hills are using Guwahati as a safe haven. The police said militants from Garo hills use Guwahati for shelter, business and investment, mostly in real estate. Militants hire rented houses and stay under different names in Guwahati.
“Guwahati police are very helpful in extending timely support and help to Meghalaya police in identifying these militants and launching an operation,” said inspector-general of police (operations), G.H.P. Raju.
Marak is wanted by Meghalaya police in the killings of two Meghalaya jail officials at Williamnagar in the East Garo Hills in 2010.
He is also wanted by Assam police for masterminding the killing of seven persons of the Rabha community and injuring nine others at Gendabari village in Assam’s Goalpara district during Diwali last year.
“We always share information on actionable intelligence and conduct joint operations as far as possible. If a joint operation is not feasible because of time factor, we totally bank on Assam police to conduct operations. They are more than willing to cooperate with Meghalaya police,” Raju said.
He said the cooperation is maintained at all levels between the two states for effective operations against militants and arms smugglers.
Marak, a former self-styled general secretary of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), joined the outfit in October 2013. The outfit was floated by Norok X. Momin, a former cadre of the breakaway faction of the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B) in February 2013.
Marak, after his release from preventive detention last year, joined Momin and became the chairman of UALA. It has a strength of around 40 cadres.
In April 2010, he escaped with injuries in an encounter at Bolchugre in the East Garo Hills. In May 2010, Marak was arrested from Siliguri railway station in West Bengal along with his girlfriend while they were waiting to board a train to Calcutta. Facing charges under Meghalaya Preventive Detention Act , he was lodged in Tura jail for three years till August 2013.
On June 2 this year, the outfit had expressed its willingness to join peace talks with the government but with the condition of creation of a “Garoland” state.
In a statement Marak had said: “We have decided to hold talks with the government for a final solution to restore everlasting peace and development of Garo hills and for the larger interest of the people.”
The statement was signed jointly by Marak and chairman of A’chik Revolutionary Force Maran Marak.