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GNLA Garo National Liberation Army

The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant outfit of Garo Hills, came into existence in early 2010 and has been consolidating its position in the three Garo Hills Districts both organisationally and in terms of weapons and cadres. To achieve the objective of a separate Garo State, the outfit resorted to terrorism in the form of killing of innocent civilians and security forces in addition to engaging in other violent activities like physical assault on Government employees, lobbing grenades in Government buildings and other violent activities and extortions.

In 2011, in exercise of the power conferred by clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Central Government added the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and all its formations and front organisations as terrorist organisation in the Schedule to the said Act.

Meghalaya has continued to be affected by Garo Militancy which dominates the insurgency scenario. Several Garo outfits like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), United Achik Liberation Army (UALA), Achik Songna Anpachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) and Achik National Liberation Army (ANLA) are active in the State and upped the ante through a series of attacks on potential targets for extortion in the five Garo Hills districts and neighboring areas.

In early June 2014 in Meghalaya, serious disturbances suddenly erupted in the district of East Garo Hills. The militants belonging to the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) blew off the head of a 35 year old woman. The disturbances persisted for a few days. The entire state was in turmoil.

By 2015 there had been nearly three-fold increase in the number of fatalities and casualties due to extremist activities going on in the State of Meghalaya during the past five years. Between January, 2015 and October 31, 2015 the insurgents of Garo Hills abducted 25 civilians, 27 businessmen, 25 employees of private Sector, 5 Government employees and 5 teachers, in total 87, for ransom. It appears that the police rescued some of them, while a few managed to escape from the custody. The rest being unfortunate were maimed to death for non-fulfillment of illegal demands.

The majority of Garo population reside in villages and they are basically dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood. Though the population is just about 7(seven) lakhs, yet they are not feeling secured and they have to live totally exposed to the mercy of insurgents who raise all kinds of illegal demands including the food and shelter. These poor villagers are forced to cooperate with the insurgents and in doing so,they also have to face the wrath and vengeance of Police. It is also said that even the Police and Civil Administration stealthily fulfill the illegal demands of the insurgents. In the series of heinous offences committed by the insurgents, one was the kidnapping of the brother-in-law of the Superintendent of Police, Incharge of High Court Security, who was posted as Block Development Officer in the Garo Hills.

The Government has undertaken peace initiative along with counter insurgency operations in the State as well as areas bordering with Assam to check the violence in the State. The Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) is under Suspension of Operation (SoO) since July 23, 2004. However, in view of wanton violence by GNLA, the Government has decided not to engage the outfit in talks but intensify operations by the Security Forces. Through diplomatic channels, the Government of India has been taking up the issue of presence of IIGs with the neighbouring countries. To supplement the efforts of the State Government, 79 Coys of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and 06 teams of CoBRA have been deployed in Meghalaya to check violence and extremist/insurgency activities.

By 2016 successful counter insurgency operations against the National Democratic Front of Bodoland Songjibit [NDFB (S)] and the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) by the security forces have dealt a severe blow to the fighting capabilities of these insurgent groups. The violence remained largely confined to Garo Hills perpetrated by the Garo groups. Spillover of the activities of these groups was also visible in neighboring districts of Goalpara and Dhubri in Assam.

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