Shillong: Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) general secretary Dalbin N. Marak and government laboratory technician Pingku Palley Ch. Marak were arrested in Meghalaya, an official said Monday.
A police spokesperson said Dalbin and Pingku were arrested Sunday night by a team of police and Special Weapons and Tactics commandos from different locations in Williamnagar, the district headquarters of the East Garo Hills.
The commandos also seized three Bangladeshi passports, several incriminating documents and objects, including round seals and writing pads of the outfit`s general secretary and vice chairman, from Pingku`s residence at Tura in the West Garo Hills.
Police did not disclose the name of the outfit`s vice chairman.
"Dalbin alias Amikka has been under our (police) scanner for several months for his activities after he was appointed GNLA`s general secretary," JFK Marak, the district police chief of East Garo Hills, told a news agency.
Dalbin claimed he was a head teacher at Bijasik Chisim Lower Primary School in East Garo Hills.
Following the arrest of the GNLA leader, the commandos raided the residence of Pingku, who confessed to have hidden three Bangladeshi passports under his name, round seals and writing pads of the outfit`s general secretary and its vice chairman and other incriminating documents in his paternal residence at Tura, the police official said.
"Both are prized catches for us. We have started interrogating them and hope they will spill the beans on their activities and their outfit`s strategies and activities," Marak said.
The arrest of Dalbin is seen as a major setback for the GNLA as he was one of the main think-tanks of the tribal outfit, fighting for a separate Garoland carved out of five impoverished districts of Garo Hills.
"On several occasions, Dalbin helped Sohan D. Shira (GNLA military wing chief) translate letters from Garo to English and his identity was hidden from the outfit members, barring Sohan," the police official said.
The GNLA, outlawed by the central government, forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which provided it access to sophisticated arms and ammunition.
GNLA rebels, who number around 200, unleashed terror in three impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the past one year and killed over 50 people, including security personnel.