An encounter was underway on Thursday between security forces and Garo militants responsible for the gruesome killing of a tribal woman after molestation and attempted rape, in South Garo Hills district in Meghalaya
Shillong: A day-long gun battle continued Thursday between rebels of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and security forces in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district following a crackdown on a militant camp, an official said.
"The gun battle, which started at 8 a.m. this (Thursday) morning, is still on. The rebels are continuing with their firing and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) commandos are retaliating," district police chief Davies N.R. Marak told IANS.
"There was a lull for sometime but they (rebels) are continuing with their firing as security forces search the camp area," he added.
Marak said there were no reports yet if anyone was arrested or killed in the crackdown or the gun fight in Adugre area, about 370 km from the state capital Shillong.
The security forces were sent at the request of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma. The Garo militants shot dead a 35-year-old tribal woman, a mother of four, with an assault rifle splitting her head in two claiming her to be a police informer after she resisted their attempts at molestation and rape in Raja Rongat village on June 3.
The GNLA in a statement had denied that the woman was molested or raped and said that she was 'executed' as she was a 'police informer'.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS (Home) Khiren Rijiju yesterday sought a detailed report of the horrific killing.
"We urge the Central Government to extend their full support in terms of manpower and other resources in view of the challenges posed by the mushrooming of militant outfits," Joint Home secretary V R Syiem said in the report sent to the Centre.
State Home minister Roshan Warjri met members of the husband and family members of the victim during the day.
The government had yesterday announced ex-gratia payment of Rs one lakh to the woman's family.
Fighting for a 'sovereign Garoland' in western areas of the state, the GNLA was co-founded by a police deserter Champion Sangma and another militant Sohan D Shira and was active in all the five districts of the Garo hills region. It is one of the five Garo tribal rebel groups.
The GNLA camp is located at Adugre in the foothills of Durama Hills. This hill range is a vast densely forested area in Garo Hills which has been used by GNLA and ULFA rebels as sanctuary. Shira, chief of the GNLA's military wing, is controlling his rebels from Durama.