Arrested Garo rebel leader planning peace talks?
Shillong: Meghalaya's outlawed Garo National Liberation Army's (GNLA) arrested supremo Champion R. Sangma is exploring the possibility of peace talks with the government, his lawyer said Sunday.
"He (Champion) wants to discuss with me the legal proposition (of holding talks)," Sangma's legal counsel Sujit Dey told journalists here.
However, the lawyer said that he had no idea whether the rebel leader was going to start peace talks.
"I do not know anything about that (starting peace talks). He only wanted to obtain the legal proposition," he added.
Sangma, whose outfit is fighting for a separate Garoland, was arrested July 30 near the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. He met his legal counsel Saturday and hinted the possibility of holding talks with the government.
He is wanted by police for masterminding several crimes, including killings and extortion in insurgency-ravaged Garo Hills in western Meghalaya, has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
"These are serious sections under the law and non-bailable offences, but it will be up to the discretionary power of the court whether to grant bail," Dey said.
Moreover, he said that he would apply for the certified copy of the case record after getting permission from the court of the additional deputy commissioner (judicial), East Khasi Hills to further know the charges against Sangma.
"We will also seek information in relation to the record of Sangma's service - his appointment and the circumstances which led to the termination of his service - and whether any service benefit is lying before the government," Dey said.
Sangma, a former deputy superintendent of police, deserted the Meghalaya police and floated the GNLA in November 2009.
The outfit, which had been outlawed by the Indian 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, and enabled it to unleash a reign of terror in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills.
Over 35 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the Garo Hills in the last one year by GNLA rebels, who number around 100.