UALA to disband on Wednesday

46 cadres to bid farewell to arms

SHILLONG: After a long wait, the disbanding ceremony of United Achik Liberation Army (UALA) will be held at Dakopgre, Tura, West Garo Hills, on Wednesday at 2 PM.
Earlier, the disbanding ceremony was deferred many times as the verification of the cadres took more time than scheduled.
Moreover, there were differences on the part of UALA commander in chief Singbirth Marak alias Norrok X. Momin who wanted more clarification on whether the criminal cases against him and other cadres will be withdrawn by the government.
However, the stand of the government is that criminal cases against cadres will be followed up as per FIRs and non- heinous cases will be withdrawn with the approval of the courts.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, ministers, legislators, church leaders and senior citizens will be present during the disbanding ceremony.
Last year on December 18, the formal agreed text was signed by the State government and the UALA chairman in Tura in the presence of the chief minister and the Home minister and a host of other political dignitaries at Tura Circuit House.
West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi informed on Sunday that as per the list submitted by the UALA chairman Novembirth Ch Marak, 46 cadres will join the disbanding ceremony and bid farewell to arms.
Earlier, 27 cadres were rehabilitated after the completion of verification process. The verification of the remaining 19 will be done on Wednesday.
Police had earlier said the total strength of UALA would be around 70.
The cadres will also hand over weapons of the AK series, an LMG and pistols along with ammunition during the disbanding ceremony.
According to Bakshi, the UALA chairman has assured the district administration that the outfit’s commander in chief Norrok X. Momin will be present during the disbanding ceremony.
Earlier, Momin had attended only one session out of        the four meetings held to discuss the disbanding ceremony.
UALA was formed in February, 2013 by Norrok who was the action commander of ANVC-B.
Later in October 2013, Novembirth, the former self-styled general secretary of GNLA, joined UALA as its chairman.
Novembirth was arrested twice – one in November 2010 from Siliguri and again in June, 2014 from a hospital in Guwahati.
Besides having the strength of 72 cadres, the outfit has a sizable number of weapons including grenades which were taken away from ANVC-B camps before they formed UALA.
The militant outfit had also recruited several Garo youths from Goalpara in Assam in the past.
Soon after its formation, the UALA had declared that they will also fight for the cause of the Garos living in Assam.
Police had confirmed the involvement of UALA in the killing of seven people – including six from the Rabha tribe – in Goalpara on November 3, 2013 prior to the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council elections. Nine persons were injured in the incident.
Intelligence reports said that UALA was also allegedly involved in Garo-Rabha conflicts in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) area of Goalpara and the neighbouring Kamrup (Rural) district. The militant outfit had opposed inclusion of Garos in Assam in the RHAC.
While police and the administration in the past had pointed finger at Norrok, who was with ANVC-B, as the mastermind behind the attack on Williamnagar jail in February, 2013 in which two jail officials – Assistant Jailer Neil Warjri and Warder Sarai Singh Thabah – were dragged out and shot dead in cold blood, the ANVC-B had denied the charges.
The initial suspicion of the police was on GNLA. However, the magisterial probe into the incident did not name any militant outfit and wanted the police to further investigate the matter.

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