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Anti-insurgency ops to continue in Garo Hills: DGP
SHILLONG: Operations against the GNLA would continue, Meghalaya DGP Rajiv Mehta asserted on Friday even as the dreaded outfit warned of carrying out serial blasts in Garo Hills, especially in Ampati – the home constituency of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma – if operations against it are not stopped.
“We are determined to take on the GNLA. There is no question of withdrawing the operation. Operations are continuing every day. The GNLA cadres are on the run,” the State police chief said on Friday while reacting to the threat issued by the GNLA of ‘hitting back’ at the police team if they did not withdraw the operations against the outfit.
Mehta stated that police have busted at least five militant camps since the launch of Operation Hailstorm 2 about eight days back.
Mehta also informed that one of the camps raided recently had about 90 cadres including those from ULFA.
He also said that during the encounter near Dadenggre on Thursday afternoon, police gunned down three militants after around six of them opened fire on the police team.
The DGP also informed that the body of a GNLA cadre identified as Dongjeng was recovered on Friday afternoon, a result of Thursday’s operation conducted near Dadenggre.
Reacting to the claim of the chief minister that the militants had better and more sophisticated weapons as compared to the State police personnel, Mehta said, “Even China had more sophisticated weapons than Vietnam but yet China lost.”
“Weapons are not enough; it’s the training, morale and strategy that you are talking about when it comes to police versus criminals,” he added.
In an attempt to forge better ties with locals, the police teams have been advised to carry medicines with them for free distribution in malaria-prone areas.
“We have also issued clear-cut instructions to the police operation teams not to harass the innocent public during anti-insurgency operations. We want the public to consider the police as their friends,” Mehta said.
Meanwhile, the GNLA, in a statement issued here on Friday, claimed that intensified operation against it was retaliation by the government for the outfit’s criticism of the home minister for her recent statement in the Assembly where she had justified the Oragitok killings.
“Hunting us down and busting our camps won’t demoralize us. Our struggle will continue. We are resolved to remain by our demands. We will voice against fake encounters, suppression of the general society, arresting and implicating innocent people with various false charges in Garo Hills by police in the name of law,” joint publicity secretary of the outfit, Garo Mandei Ch Marak, said.
He claimed that GNLA had allowed police to perform their duties while plying through public roads and villages by preventing their commandos from attacking policemen for the sake of their families, adding, “If operations against us don’t stop police will meet the same fate as those who died in Rongara.”
He said that the chief minister and the home minister should not make it a personal issue and try to hunt them (GNLA) down for their personal egos.
“The whole state knows about the Oragitok fake encounter and how Garo Hills is passing through rough days under Mukul Sangma. If the government prefers not to see serial bomb blasts in Garo Hills, especially Ampati, it should stop the operations,” he warned.