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Centre pledges support

- Rijiju promises Meghalaya help to fight militancy

Shillong, Aug. 20: The Centre today assured its support to Meghalaya in the fight against militants especially in the strife-torn Garo hills region.

The Centre’s assurance came when Meghalaya home minister Roshan Warjri met Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi.

The Garo hills region remains a cause of concern with militant-related activities dominating the region. Militant outfits of different hues and under varied names have come up in the recent past indulging in killing, abduction and extortion.

Meghalaya’s western region has been at the receiving end of militant activities with groups like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), ANVC (B), A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK), and United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA) emerging to create a volatile law and order situation.

Apart from the above mentioned, the other outfits operating include the A’chik National Unit Force (ANUF), A’chik National Liberation Army (ANLA), A’chik Tiger Force (ATF), and the A’chik National Central Liberation Army (ANLCA). Even Ulfa cadres are also active in Garo hills.

Speaking over phone, Warjri said Meghalaya wanted more additional paramilitary companies to be deployed in the state, particularly in Garo hills, to neutralise militant outfits.

Besides, the state has also sought for extra Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) forces.

Moreover, she said a proposal has been laid down before the home ministry to provide assistance for the strengthening and upgrade of police infrastructure in the state.

The state government wants to upgrade existing police outposts to police stations and to establish more police stations with additional deployment of work force.

For the state’s very own Special Force 10 (SF-10), the Meghalaya government has sought assistance from the Centre.

The Centre is also actively considering the state’s request for setting up of two more police battalions, Warjri said.

Besides the challenges confronting the police in the fight against militants, Warjri told Rijiju about the successful operations made by the security forces.

From January until date, 169 militants were arrested while in 2013, the number of arrests made was 108. Around 27 militants have been killed from January until date while 22 militants were killed last year.

The police were also able to seize caches of arms and ammunition besides busting training camps.

“We have informed the minister about the challenges faced by the state police, and we expressed the need for more forces for the Garo hills,” Warjri said.

Stating that the minister was “responsive and receptive” to the requests put forth by the state, Warjri said an assurance was given that the requests would be expeditiously examined.