Shillong, June 24: Meghalaya police have not been asked to “probe” into the alleged politician-militant nexus in the state, according to director-general of police Peter James Pyngrope Hanaman.
“I am not aware of it (the politician-militant nexus probe). If it comes to our notice, we will take cognisance. But right now, our fight is against the militants,” he told reporters at the police headquarters here today.
The alleged politician-militant nexus has been a subject of debate in Meghalaya with Opposition parties pressing for an impartial probe to unravel the truth.
Recently, Independent legislator Saleng A. Sangma, who was a victim of militant attacks in the past, had written to Union home minister Rajnath Singh seeking for a CBI probe into the alleged nexus.
In spite of several voices demanding a probe, the police have not received any directive from the political leadership to unravel the truth on the alleged existence of a nexus between politicians and militants, especially those operating in the Garo hills.
On the chief minister Mukul Sangma’s remarks of not ruling out the existence of such an unholy nexus, he said, “He (chief minister) has not asked us to probe it.”
He said if such a probe was conducted, the police would assist or provide their expertise.
However, the state police chief said his department has been weeding out “bad apples” allegedly hand-in-glove with militant groups like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).
“We have some bad apples in the police department. We have weeded them out and we will continue the process. There are even some policemen who have been dismissed for being involved in helping groups like the GNLA with ammunition or other equipment,” Hanaman said.
Three police personnel are currently in custody and are likely to be dismissed from service shortly, he said.
Two personnel from the fourth Meghalaya Police Battalion, Havildar Bitharstone R. Marak and constable Balgra Marak, are at present in judicial custody after they were arrested for allegedly helping militants. Another constable, Jimbirth R. Marak, was arrested for such an incident.
“We will dismiss them while they are in custody,” he said.
Disturbed area tag: The police are averse to the idea of declaring Garo hills a “disturbed area”.
A region declared “disturbed area” immediately comes under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which provides security forces with sweeping powers.
The act empowers the governors of the states and administrators of Union Territories to declare affected areas in the state “disturbed” to protect it against internal disturbances.
“It (disturbed area tag) is not required at this juncture. If the place is declared a disturbed area, it means you are going to bring in the army,” Hanaman said.
Additional DGP M.R. Vijaya Kumar reminded that in 1998, the army was brought in with little results to show.
Commenting on the law and order situation in Garo hills, Hanaman said, “Things are not hunky-dory although there is some amount of lawlessness, abduction, and extortion but I do not think everyone pays the rebels. I think the police are doing a good job.”
On the recent kidnapping and the rescue of SBI official Arvind Kumar, Hanaman brushed aside speculations that the entire episode was “stage-managed” by the police themselves.
“Why would we stage manage? No matter what we do, some people will be unhappy. Is this some sort of a design against us? For people with vested interests, no matter how much we do, they will never be happy,” Hanaman said.