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Traders raising funds for rebels:Cops

Shillong, Aug. 13: Meghalaya police have stumbled upon a “criminal conspiracy” supposedly hatched by businessmen with an intention to raise funds for militant outfits in the Garo hills.

Today, police in Tura, West Garo Hills, lodged a suo moto FIR alleging that some businessmen were indulging in “criminal conspiracy” by raising funds from the public for terrorist organisations and militant outfits operating in the state’s western region.

In Meghalaya, only the GNLA has been termed a “terrorist organisation” by the Centre.

Apart from the GNLA, there are several other so-called militant outfits operating in the region.

According to official sources, some businessmen in Tura operate like “guides” for these armed groups and pinpoint certain people who could pay up as per the “demands”.

“They pass on information to the militant groups about a person’s contact details and his paying capacity. But the service they render is not free. They charge a certain percentage also from the militant groups for carrying out such activities,” a source said.

The source said that the police have been able to identify those who are into “guiding” the armed groups in such a manner and will soon initiate action against them.

According to government records, the militant outfits operating in the Garo hills include the United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA), A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK), A’chik National Liberation Army (ANLA), A’chik National Central Liberation Army (ANLCA), A’chik Tiger Force (ATF), ANVC (B) and the A’chik National Unit Force (ANUF).

The cadre strength of these outfits, including that of the GNLA, is somewhere between 10 and above 200.

Since 2004, the parent ANVC group has been in a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the Centre and the state government.