Mob forces release of arrested rebels

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Shillong, Jan 27 (PTI) A mob today forced the release ofthe four Garo ''militants'' who were arrested after an encounterin Meghalaya�s East Garo Hills district.

A mob of around 300 people gheraoed the WilliamnagarPolice Station, threatening to burn it down if the militants,who they claim to be ''innocent villagers'', are not released.

They also met the deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi andother police officials pressing for their demand.

Official sources said the police were forced to releasethe captive militants on personal release (PR) bond.

Local MLA Marcuise Marak, who also met the DC and SP andlater claimed to have pacified the mob said the localchieftains had employed the youths who were known to thelocals.

"The person killed in the encounter was in fact acarpenter engaged by the local chieftain. But police claimedthat he was a sentry at the militant camp," Marak said.

The protesters also wanted to take out a procession withthe body of the slain militant, but were not allowed by theadministration. The body was later handed over to the family.

The protesters claimed the arrested persons werevillagers and that yesterday�s encounter in which anothermilitant was killed was "stage-managed".

A suspected militant of the Garo National LiberationArmy (GNLA) was killed, four others arrested while theoutfit�s ''chairman'' narrowly escaped in an pre-dawn encounteryesterday with police commandos inside a forest at Rongrekgre,where an unspecified number of cadres, including theirchairman Champion Sangma, a deserter deputy superintendent ofpolice, were hiding.

During the ensuing encounter, one GNLA militant � WashingMarak - was killed, while four others � Leting Marak, PaldilMarak, Mily Marak and Peper Marak � were arrested.

Police found one AK 47 rifle, LMG shells, one pistol anda magazine from the busted camp.

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