Security forces launch combing operations against HNLC, NLFT

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Shillong, Dec 18 (UNI) The security forces in Meghalaya have launched joint operations against the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and National Liberation Front of Tripura in the Jaintia Hills district of the state.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) B L Buam said here today that the operations were being carried out jointly by Meghalaya police, Special Operation Team and the BSF after the state police yesterday busted a joint transit camp of the HNLC and NLFT inside Narpuh reserve forest, bordering Assam and Bangladesh.

However, police failed to arrest any of the militants so far, who had been camping in the forest now for nearly one month.

''They have managed to evade us so far but we are continuing our combing operations to nab them,'' the IGP said.

The security forces recovered huge cache of nine mm and .22 ammunition, four AK-56 rifle butts, one high frequency walkie-talkie, a diary containing Bangladesh and Indian telephone numbers of HNLC and NLFT ultras, micro cassettes, photographs, incriminating documents, besides a medical prescription of a Bangladesh-based doctor from the camp.

Earlier, before raiding the joint camp, police arrested two top HNLC cadres yesterday from Chiehruphi village in Jaintia Hills.

The outlawed HNLC and NLFT, fighting for a ''sovereign independent state'' for the Hynniewtrep people in Meghalaya and the Tripuri people in Tripura respectively, were reported to have planned to abduct businessmen from the Jaintia Hills and extort money.

The Jaintia Hills district has a large deposits of coal and limestone as well as rich deposits of other mineral resources. The coal mines are jointy run by local people and Marwari businessmen.

At present, the district has three cement plants and half a dozen more such plants would be set up soon.

Extortion demands have gone up in the district especially after cement companies decided to set up more new plants, an intelligence official said.

The militants also extort money from trucks passing through the National Highway 44, the lifeline of lower Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and parts of Manipur, he added.

Recently, the HNLC suffered a major jolt when its chairman Julius K Dorphang surrendered before Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang.


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