Meghalaya’s UDP wants politicians-rebels nexus probed

Shillong, Dec 16: The opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) Monday demanded an independent probe into the alleged nexus between the state’s politicians and rebel groups in Meghalaya.

“The chief minister (Mukul Sangma) has not ruled out the nexus between politicians and rebel groups, and therefore, he should take an initiative to set up an independent probe to unearth the facts,” UDP spokesperson Paul Lyngdoh told IANS.

“It is an open secret, many people know about it. For instance, the toll gates in Garo Hills (western part of Meghalaya) have been used to further the cause of insurgency,” he said.

“There is a revenue sharing formula from the gates and truth will come out only if there is a deeper inquiry into the issue rather than a cosmetic probe,” he added.

The UDP, which is part of the combined Meghalaya People’s Front (MPF), earlier urged Governor K.K. Paul to initiate a probe into the nexus between politicians and insurgent groups in the state.

Asked whether the UDP is seeking a CBI probe into the alleged politicians-rebels nexus, Lyngdoh said, “It is up to the government to decide which independent body should inquire into it, but since this nexus is so deep, we strongly feel that an independent body should probe it.”

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had earlier said the nexus between some politicians and rebel outfits cannot be ruled out.

“We cannot rule out any nexus with any politician in the state. Security agencies are monitoring and verifying such nexus and no politician will be insulated from the purview of the law if such nexus is established,” Sangma said about rebel outfits.

“Whenever such information is brought to the notice of the government with sufficient evidence, the law will take its own course and no politician will be insulated from the purview of law,” he added.

At least 46 people, including nine security personnel, have been killed in acts of insurgency since January in the Garo Hills region.

Meghalaya, especially the Garo Hill region, is being used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militants groups, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

With the outlawed A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) observing a ceasefire with the central government, the NSCN-IM, and the ULFA have spawned several rebel groups with an intention of exploiting the lucrative extortion in Garo Hills region.

The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), which is fighting for a separate Garoland in the western area of Meghalaya, has links with NSCN-IM, ULFA, and NDFB.

Another outlawed outfit, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), has been demanding a sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya. The outfit is currently on the backfoot as most of its cadres have surrendered to the government.