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By Ibankyntiew Mawrie
Militancy in Meghalaya is a thing of the past but attempts to revive the militant outfits in the state by 'anti-social elements' cannot be ruled out, an official of the Border Security Force (BSF) said on Saturday.
“Militancy here is finished, but we have received inputs that there are people who are attempting to revive the banned outfits,” the official (on condition of anonymity) told TNT-The Northeast Today.
Meghalaya, particularly Garo Hills region, was once a hot-bed of insurgency when the proscribed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) was in full strength. But with the death of its commander-in-chief Sohan D Shira in 2018, the strength of the outfit has dwindled ever since, if not perished.
The Khasi Hills-based militant outfit – the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), that had once terrorised the state, particularly the capital city of Shillong, is now but reduced to a spent outfit, according to the official.
“The only known militant outfits in the state are the HNLC, GNLA and the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I). But with the elimination of the top leadership of these respective outfits, there are no more threats in the state,” the BSF official observed.
Earlier this month, Drishti Rajkhowa alias Manoj Rabha, the deputy commander-in-chief of ULFA (I) surrendered in Meghalaya’s South Garo Hills district. “With the surrender of Drishti, the survival of the ULFA-I, like the GNLA, is doubtful,” said the official.
However, the senior official of the BSF cautioned that there might be attempts to revive these spent outfits through various illegal means which include kidnapping, extortion and smuggling.
“Drishti Rajkhowa had also made several attempts to revive the GNLA alongside ULFA-I but failed,” said the official.
Referring to the HNLC, the official informed that the HNLC’s involvement in cattle smuggling cannot be ruled out. “The BSF has received inputs that the HNLC cadres are blackmailing cattle smugglers asking for their share to ensure a safe passage,” he added.