Officials have stated on May 15 that the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) is in the process of “regrouping” and making efforts to send young individuals from the western Garo Hills area of Meghalaya to Myanmar for rudimentary guerrilla warfare training.
According to a leaked document intended for circulation among all Officer In-Charge of West Garo Hills, it has been stated that the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) is regrouping and providing training to 500 youths in Nagaland and Burma.
Top officials from the Police department have confirmed that the document is a routine exercise conducted whenever there are indications of potential disturbances to law and order in the region.
Dr. L.R Bishnoi, the Meghalaya Director General of Police (DGP), acknowledged that the department has received some information but further investigation is required to verify the alleged regrouping of GNLA in the area.
According to reports, the State administration has already implemented measures to hinder such endeavors and is actively monitoring the actions of former members who have surrendered to authorities, as per the officials.
Reports suggest that a senior official from the Home Department informed a news agency, “We have received information regarding the regrouping of the GNLA. The details are internal, and appropriate actions have been taken.” According to him, several youths have been “recruited” and there have been attempts to send them to Myanmar for basic guerrilla warfare training.
Around 10 days ago, a deputy SP from the special branch issued a wireless message urging police officers across all stations in Meghalaya to enhance their intelligence network in order to monitor the movements of former members of the group.
The message further instructed, “Closely monitor the movements and activities of surrendered/arrested members of the group, as well as individuals who are known to have connections with the organization, including overground workers and businessmen.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma dismissed the claim, stating that the leaked report is an internal assessment that is regularly conducted at various levels of governance.
Sangma emphasised that while the government takes such assessments seriously, it also receives a significant amount of intelligence information. The government’s responsibility is to carefully analyze and filter out credible information from the multitude of reports received.
He acknowledged the complexity of this process, explaining that out of the numerous reports received, only a small percentage holds substantial weight. Therefore, without thoroughly examining the report in question, it is challenging to provide a definitive response at this time.
“I have not seen the copy of the report but these are assessments that are routine within different levels of governance but as a responsible government, we will not take things lightly and an internal assessment will be conducted in the coming days to address the situation” said Sangma.
It may be noted that the GNLA was formed in 2009 by former Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Meghalaya, Pakchara R. Sangma alias Champion R. Sangma after he deserted the police force.
In early 2018, the state saw decline in militant’s activities especially after Commander in chief, Sohan D. Shira was killed in an encounter with commandos of the Meghalaya Special Force 10, at Dobu A’chakpek in East Garo Hills District.
Post the 2017-2018, most members of GNLA were either arrested or gunned down which led to the total wipe out of the GNLA and other militants especially in Garo Hills region.