Tura, July 1: Meghalaya police today gunned down a cadre of A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) and arrested three from Rewak village, near Baghmara in the South Garo Hills.
The operation, led by the SWAT and police teams of South Garo Hills, was launched in the area since late last evening, after villagers informed the police that some cadres of the outfit were taking shelter in a house in the village.
The police said a group of rebels had abducted a welder on Sunday from Rewak market, 6km from Baghmara town, which is about 126km from Tura.
Inspector-general of police (operations), G.H.P. Raju said, “No FIR was filed by the family. However, we conducted an operation based on the inputs provided by the villagers and rescued the welder, Manoranjan Singh, today around 5am.”
The exchange of fire lasted for about 20 minutes, in which one cadre, Bethma Ch. Sangma, 29, was killed and three others — Arjensing M. Marak, Aiwal D. Shira, 19, both from Era Aning village, Nongalbibra in South Garo Hills, and Joshwa B. Marak, — were arrested. All three are in their late teens.
The police rescued the welder unharmed. One Insas rifle with a magazine, 14 5.56mm live ammunition, one SBBL gun with 2 SBBL ammunition, one wireless receiver, a bundle of ASAK demand notes and empty detonators were found on the slain militant.
“There were about eight to nine cadres taking shelter at Rewak village. In the operation, we killed one and arrest three. Others escaped into the jungle,” said Raju.
West Garo Hills superintendent of police Mukesh Singh said, “Our search to rescue them is on. No FIR has been filed in this case.”
The outfit was formed in February this year by cadres of breakaway faction of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), led by Reding T. Sangma, who was the former finance secretary of the GNLA.
The Garo hills region is witnessing a series of abduction in the last two weeks. On June 18, the police rescued a bank manager from Antekagre near Melliem in the South West Garo Hills. On June 26, the police rescued four abducted traders unharmed from the clutches of a group of GNLA and Ulfa (Independent) militants from a remote location in the West Garo Hills district. On June 29, a shoe trader was abducted from Dalu, along the India-Bangladesh border. On June 30, a schoolteacher on his way to Dalu from Tura was abducted.