‘Reding saw the writing on the wall’

TURA: ASAK chief Reding T. Sangma was left with one option, that to surrender, as security forces were closing in on his hideouts in the forests of South Garo Hills, the State police chief has said.
“We had pushed in more security forces into the South Garo Hills region, particularly our Special Force 10 commando units, forcing the ASAK chief to be constantly on the run. The pressure from our teams was too unbearable for Reding and he saw the writing on the wall,” Director General of Police Swaraj Bir Singh told The Shillong Times.
Reding is accused in the murder of intelligence official Bikash Kumar Singh and a cloth merchant in September 2015.
The DGP said on Thursday after the surrender of the ASAK militants that all cases, including the twin murders, will be investigated thoroughly and Reding would not be given any preferential treatment.
“The deputy commander of ASAK, Sengbath D Shira, who masterminded the kidnapping and murder of the official was killed in an encounter with police at Kemdang village in South Garo Hills on February 14 last year,” said Singh.
On September 24, 2015, ASAK militants halted a public vehicle coming from Rongara village to district headquarters Baghmara. They abducted central intelligence official Bikash Singh and cloth merchant Kamal Saha.
Both victims were murdered and their decomposed bodies were recovered a month later from a shallow grave in a forest near the Indo-Bangla border in the same district.
The DGP said the surrender of the entire ASAK rebel group was because its chief Reding realised he had no options left as police commando teams were gradually closing in on his jungle hideouts in South Garo Hills.
Singh has lauded the efforts of South Garo Hills police for their sustained operations against the militants and also expressed his gratitude to church leaders and NGOs for facilitating the surrender of Reding and his group.
Reding was the finance secretary of the GNLA but split from the ranks after he was removed from the post by Sohan D. Shira. He fled from the GNLA camp with a group of rebel fighters taking a large number of weapons, including a Heckler and Koch assault rifle given by Sohan to each commander.
He formed the ASAK outfit on February 12, 2014, with another GNLA commander Jack Marak as finance secretary, Cheo Challang as chairman, Chue Dilsrang Sangma as deputy military chief and Dura Matgrik as general secretary.

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