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Police bust HNLC sleeper cell in Ri-Bhoi, four held

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Several IEDs assembled to target Shillong, Nongpoh seized

SHILLONG/NONGPOH, March 12: In a joint operation, the East Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi Police managed to foil the attempt of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) to carry out IED blasts in Shillong and Nongpoh.
The police said on Tuesday that at about 6 pm on Monday, an IED was recovered from a pick-up vehicle bearing registration number ML12-3243 detained on the Umsning-Mawhati Road. It was being driven by one Damanbha Ripnar.
According to the police, an active sleeper cell of HNLC consisting of four accused persons was subsequently been busted, thereby foiling its attempt to detonate more IEDs in Shillong and Nongpoh.
Ripnar alias Shall Lapang, one of the four members of the sleeper cell, was arrested along with the other three – Robinis Ripnar, Jill Tarang, and Shining Nongrum. All four are from the Ri-Bhoi district.
The police seized 15 gelatine sticks, 167 splinters (shrapnel inside the IED), a safety fuse wire, three non-electric detonators, and five mobile phones from the quartet.
A case was registered against them at the Nongpoh Police Station under Section 120B/121A of the Indian Penal Code along with Sections 10/13/18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 5/6 of the Explosive Substances Act.
The state police had launched an operation to hunt down those involved in the March 9 IED blast at Them Iew Mawlong.
Earlier on Sunday, the police arrested two persons, including a senior leader of Hynniewtrep National Youth Front, for their alleged involvement in the IED blast.
Ebakordor Nongpluh (26), a resident of West Jaintia Hills, was arrested from Shillong while Tarson Lymba (58), a resident of West Jaintia Hills, was arrested from Dawki. They were on Monday produced in a court, which sent them to a 10-day police remand.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday said a massive police exercise is on to nab everyone involved in the recent IED blast in the city and many arrests have been made. “The police are conducting a probe and a large number of people have been arrested. I was updated till last midnight on the actions taken by the police,” he said.
“I am monitoring the situation very closely. I cannot share all the details with you right now but the police have been successful so far,” he added, vowing action against individuals trying to create problems.
He, however, declined to say if the HNLC has been behind the blast as it “cannot be backed with evidence right now” while refusing to attribute the incident to intelligence failure.
Sangma also declined to elaborate on the possibility of the talks with the HNLC resuming.

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