Mob forces release of arrested rebels, demands compensation

A mob on Thursday gheraoed a police station and forced the release of the four Garo `militants.

Shillong: A mob on Thursday gheraoed a police
station and forced the release of the four Garo `militants`
who were arrested after an encounter in Meghalaya’s East Garo
Hills district in which one suspected militant was also
killed.

A mob of around 300 people, allegedly led by the local
MLA, gheraoed the Williamnagar Police Station, threatening to
burn it down if the militants, who they claim to be `innocent
villagers`, are not released.

Official sources said the police were forced to release
the captive militants on personal release (PR) bond.

A senior police official insisted that the four were in
fact associated with a militant group and their release were
only to ensure that the situation did not go out of hand.

Local MLA Marcuise Marak refuted reports that he led the
mob and said that he in fact had gone to the police station to
help the administration in dispersing the unruly mob which was
beginning to gain in numbers.

"Nokmas (traditional heads), villagers and others will not
openly come out in support of rebels if they are so," Marak
said claiming that deceased and other four are innocent daily
wage earners.

The rebel killed in the encounter was engaged by the
village head to make wooden planks, Marak claimed.

The protesters also wanted to take out a procession with
the body of the slain militant, but were not allowed by the
administration. The body was later handed over to the family.

The protesters claimed the arrested persons were
villagers and that yesterday?s encounter in which another
militant was killed was "stage-managed".

The Federation For Achik Freedom, an NGO, has demanded a
compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the next of kin of the slain
person and removal of the circle inspector of Williamnagar who
had led yesterday’s operation.

"It is absolutely necessary to find out the facts and if
the slain person was innocent then why such an incident
occurred and who are the people/officers who have acted
irresponsibly. Therefore an enquiry must be set up immediately
to ensure that officers responsible should immediately be
brought to task," Opposition leader Conrad Sangma said in a
letter to Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh.

A suspected militant of the Garo National Liberation Army
(GNLA) was killed, four others arrested while the outfit’s
`chairman narrowly escaped in an pre-dawn encounter
yesterday.

PTI

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