Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma congratulated the police for its successful operation in which the commander-in-chief of Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) Sohan D Shira was killed on Saturday.

He told the media that the effort and commitment of the police forces is commendable, as this would restore peace and normalcy for the future prosperity of the state.

“Due to insurgency people had started losing hope but with effort of the government, we could instill faith and people have stood firmly to achieve collective peace”, the chief minister said.

He told that people have been very supportive of the security forces and government had invested substantially to strengthen the security forces, which remained the top agenda of restoring peace in Meghalaya. “I believe that with some more endeavor we will be able to restore permanent peace in Meghalaya”, he added.

He also stated that to achieve permanent peace efforts has to be made for a multipronged approach, which can generate hope amongst the people particularly the youth. “We must remember that North East is a part of the conflict zone and remains the most vulnerable due to the porous international border which provides access to easy arms and ammunition”, the CM said.

He remarked that collective and concerted effort was required both from the state and the Central Government to strengthen the internal security of the nation. “I have taken up the matter of trans-border movement in North East where access to sophisticated arms and ammunition are smuggled through Bangladesh, Myanmar and China”, he added.

Tura Lok Sabha MP Conrad K. Sangma also congratulated the Meghalaya police for the successful operation. In a statement, Conrad said, “The effort of Meghalaya police is highly commendable. Despite difficulties and odds, the police have been able to achieve a breakthrough to kill the most wanted rebel.  I believe that the tireless effort of the police have finally yielded result. This will surely enable the sate to further go ahead to restore peace and normalcy”.

Sohan D Shira was Meghalaya’s most wanted militant. He was taking shelter in a makeshift hideout on a hilltop at Dobu Bawanggre, close to Garegittim area that connects East and South Garo Hills with West Khasi Hills district.

Police said that the militant was shot around 11:51 am. Sohan was the first casualty in the operation as he came in direct confrontation with the commandos who were just yards away from where he was positioned.

According to police commandos who took part in the operation, the militant leader was caught unawares of the commandos having come so close to his hideout and on seeing them tried to react by immediately opening fire from his Heckler and Koch automatic rifle. It was too late.

The commandos retaliatory fire was precise. It blew off a portion of the militant’s head killing him on the spot. He also sustained multiple hits on his upper torso falling where he had stood and bringing to an end the years of tyranny and bloodletting perpetrated by him and group which has led to countless loss of lives in the Garo Hills.

The police had been on the hunt of GNLA commander-in-chief after the killing of NCP candidate from Williamnagar constituency Jonathone N Sangma, who died along with three others in an IED blast last Saturday.

Based on specific input of Sohan and his team taking shelter, SF-10 commandos launched the counter insurgency operation under the operational command of commandant of SF-10 Jerry Fischer K Marak at around 4 am on Saturday.

The police had to cross several streams and walk terrains to reach the interior village of Babawanggre on a hilltop, where Sohan and 12 other cadres were taking shelter in a makeshift hideout.

“After the recent IED blast at Samanda, the police had put up a security dragnet all along Garo hills and along the inter-state border with Khasi hills and managed to intercept the militants movement. Our team had credible lead on Sohan’s movement and we were able to zero it down”, said SB Singh, Meghalaya DGP.

He also informed that Sohan and his team were able to give police a slip in the past as they used the inter-district border to escape after committing the crimes.

Sohan hails from Nengmandalgre village, near Williamnagar town of East Garo Hills.

In 2014 the outfit had killed a women in presence of her husband and four young children at Raja Rongat, near Chokpot in South Garo Hills, which attracted wide spread condemnation.

Sohan and former DSP Champion Sangma had floated GNLA in 2010 with the demand for creation of separate Garoland. Sohan was earlier part of the now disbanded A’chik National Volunteer’s Council (ANVC).

Champion is currently in Shillong jail. He was arrested in Bangladesh in July 2012 and handed over to Meghalaya police. In his absence Sohan was the de facto chief of the outfit and had been involved in heinous crimes.

In 2015, Meghalaya police had announced Rs 10 lakh reward for providing any information on his whereabouts.

Watch the video here –

Saidul Khan

Saidul Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Tura. He can be reached at: shanu.saidul@gmail.com

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