ULFA-GNLA combine planned W’nagar blast

Police downplays GNLA denial

SHILLONG: In spite of the denial by GNLA that it had no hand in the lED blast at Williamnagar on Saturday, Meghalaya police has confirmed that itwas the handiwork of the outfit with the assistance from ULFA .
A senior police official said on Sunday that police has enough evidence to show the blast was an outcome of the ongoing negotiations and a co-operation between GNLA and anti-talks faction of ULFA based in Bangladesh.
Police said that the evidence indicated that there have been talks between GNLA supremo Sohan D. Shira and Deputy Commander in Chief of ULFA Drishti Rajkhowa alias Manoj Rabha.
Rajkhowa, the ULFA anti-talks leader based in Bangladesh has a long history of contacts in Garo Hills and is fluent in Garo language.
Infact, while he was the Commander of the 109 battalion of ULFA till 2011, he was engaged in a series of violent activities in Garo Hills.
According to police, the links between GNLA and ULFA seem to have been renewed last year during Operation Hillstorm when Sohan D. Shira fled Meghalaya and camped in Bangladesh for many months.
” In the renewed talks held three months ago, GNLA had asked for the services of an ULF A cadre named Aprai who is claimed to be an IED making expert. Some of the GNLA cadres were also sent for training in IED making in the ULF A camps in Bangladesh. Aprai is said to have strong connections in North Garo Hills district”, a police source said.
Before Saturday’s blast,  GNLA had tried to throw a hand grenade at another wine shop in December last year.
Due to the presence of police personnel, the militants targeted another nearby shop but the grenade did not blast.
There have been series of attempts thereafter to throw grenades and to plant IEDs at various places, but the same was foiled due to timely intervention of the police.
Police sources pointed out that refusal of the shopkeepers and traders to pay extortion money to GNLA had led to frustration among the top leadership of GNLA who directed
GNLA Commanders identified as Jimmy and Megam to carry out the blast in the Williamnagar market during the market day on Saturday.
The East Garo Hills police have identified the duo, who carried out the blast and a hunt is on to arrest them. A case was also registered by the East Garo Hills police under a series of sections against Sohan and cadres Jimmy, Megam and others.
Sources confirmed that there has been a debate among the senior leaders of GNLA on whether to carry out IED blast on the market day where a number of local Garos and Maharis would be coming for marketing.
“But, the senior leadership especially Sohan and Jimmy had asserted that time had come to take action against those who are not paying extortion money whether they are Maharis or non-tribals”, sources added.
More forces
The Williamnagar blast comes almost a month before the slated SAF Games and has serious security implications.
In this context, the state government has asked the Centre for reinforcements for CRPF and COBRA units .
A police official said that the entre has promised to provide additional manpower which will result in intensification of operations against GNLA and other militants.

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