Shillong, Aug. 8: A Meghalaya policeman has been dismissed from service for allegedly working for the proscribed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).
The commandant of the 4th Meghalaya Police Battalion dismissed havildar Bitharstone R. Marak by invoking the powers conferred under Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution, Meghalaya inspector-general of police G.H.P. Raju said here today.
According to Raju, on April 19, Marak left the battalion headquarters at Sohpian in West Khasi Hills for Assam without any permission.
The havildar was apparently on a mission to receive AK ammunition from arms smugglers identified as Bikunjoy Longmailai of Dima Hasao district, Hari Gayari of Karbi Anglong district and Tapan Baishya of Kamrup district.
Assam police arrested the police havildar along with the smugglers on April 19 at Jorabat Teenali, and the Basista police registered a case against the individuals under the relevant sections of the Arms Act, Raju said.
The police recovered mobile phones, Rs 50,000 cash and 130 rounds of AK-series ammunition from them, Raju added.
“These ammunitions were to be supplied to the GNLA militants by the havildar. He had been actively engaged in providing logistical support to GNLA for quite some time. Marak is under judicial custody in Williamnagar jail,” the top cop said.
Apart from the havildar, police had earlier arrested constable Balgra Marak, who is now under judicial custody, for allegedly aiding militants.
According to Raju, even the self-styled chairman of the GNLA, Champion R. Sangma, who is now in jail, was dismissed from police service under the same provision of the Constitution.
Champion was a deputy superintendent of police when he floated the outfit along with former ANVC leader Sohan D. Shira. The GNLA also has a few cadres who had deserted Meghalaya police.
Meghalaya police are yet to make any headway in the rescue operation of SBI employee Subodh Kumar Mishra, who was abducted at gunpoint from Gasuapara in South Garo Hills, about 70km from Tura on Tuesday, reports our Tura correspondent.
The bank will hold a peace rally tomorrow to seek Mishra’s unconditional release on humanitarian grounds at Tura. The rally will begin at 1.30pm from Chandmari playground here.
Bank officials and employees from across Garo hills, public, church leaders and NGOs will attend the rally.
“We have requested everybody to come forward to show solidarity with Mishra. We appeal to one and all to come forward to demand Mishra’s release on humanitarian grounds,” said Nixon Joseph, assistant general manager (Garo hills division).
On the rumour that banks across Garo hills will remain shut from Monday, Joseph said, “We have not taken such a decision.”
An official of the bank told The Telegraph, “Our officials today received a phone call from the abductors, who have demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh for his release. The abductors had earlier demanded Rs 1 crore and have been negotiating.”
The abductors have been using three numbers to make calls to SBI officials. The officials received two calls today at 6.51am and at 8am.
The bank has been holding a series of consultations to chalk out their future course of action, as many employees working in remote areas are scared.
Superintendent of police, South Garo Hills, Lakador Syiem, said, “Our massive search operation is on to rescue Mishra. We have not been able to get any lead on his whereabouts.”
On August 5, six gunmen abducted Mishra, while he was going towards Barengapara in the West Garo Hills on his bike, after discharging his duty for the day.
Police suspect it to be a handiwork of A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok outfit.
On June 16, Arvind Kumar, SBI branch manager of Ampati in the South West Garo Hills was abducted from Garobadha.
The police, in an operation on June 18, rescued him.