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Bid to end border turbulence
Police arrest 24 militants near Tura

Tura, July 26: In a major crackdown, Meghalaya police today arrested 24 cadres of the breakaway faction of the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B) from the outfit’s supposed camp at Edenbari, about 7km from Tura town in West Garo Hills.

West Garo Hills superintendent of police Mukesh Singh said: “We have strong evidence against the cadres for the recent killing of two migrant labourers. Interrogation is on”.

The police have recovered one double-barrelled gun, 31 shotguns, a handmade pistol, one 7.65 bullet, four .22 bullets and incriminating documents from the site.

In January last year, the outfit had decided to be part of the “agreed text of settlement” along with the ANVC.

Earlier today, a Meghalaya police constable sustained a bullet injury while trying to rescue his friend, a teacher, from the clutches of his abductors.

The incident took placed at 7th Mile on the outskirts of Tura.

Constable Abhijit Mazumdar, 28, and his teacher friend Saumendu Rana Chakraborty, were on a motorbike when unidentified gunmen, travelling in a car, intercepted them. The incident took place between 11.30 am and 12.30pm.

“Five unidentified gunmen stopped them. They tried to kidnap Saumendu and Abhijit intervened. Abhijit sustained a bullet injury and is undergoing treatment at Tura civil hospital. They abducted the teacher,” said Singh.

Mazumdar, a commando of the 5th Meghalaya Battalion, was on leave and travelling with his friend to his native village in Barengapara, near Dalu, along India-Bangladesh border. He joined the police force in 2008.

Inspector-general of police (operations), G.H.P. Raju said: “He (Mazumdar) tried to rescue the teacher like a true cop, but they shot at him. He is a hero. An operation is on to rescue the abducted teacher”.

Chakraborty is doing his PhD from North Eastern Hill University (Nehu).

Injured cop dies: Meghalaya police constable Rahul Marak today succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital in Guwahati. He was critically injured in an IED explosion at Tebronggre, about 18km from Tura in West Garo Hills yesterday. In the explosion, two other policemen — Alphaios Khymdeit, a constable and driver Lembadme Suchiang, were killed.

Marak’s body was taken straight to Aradonga in West Khasi Hills from Guwahati while Suchiang and Khymdeit were given a guard of honour at Tura police reserve and later taken to their respective homes in Jowai and Nongpoh.

Two other cops, who had sustained minor injuries, are undergoing treatment at Tura civil hospital.

The police personnel were on a routine patrol between Rongram bazaar and Tebronggre when the powerful IED exploded around 5pm yesterday.

Police had indicated role of Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in the attack but the outfit today denied its involvement. “We strongly refute the charges by the government agencies in the attack on the police Gypsy yesterday between Rongram and Tebronggre. We strongly deny any role behind the dastardly attack,” said Savio Marak, a GNLA cadre, in a release.

The Opposition National People’s Party (NPP) today strongly condemned yesterday’s incident and demanded that compensation be paid to the bereaved families of the police constables who died.

It also condemned the killing of a non-indigenous labourer from Mankachar in West Garo Hills district. The party urged the district administration to ensure that peace prevails in the border areas of Assam and Meghalaya.