Rift in Garo Hills outfits, region holds its breath

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Front Page

Staff Reporter
Tura, Feb 15: The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) has made an expose that its former finance secretary, Reding T Sangma was demoted for breaking the rules of the outfit. The expose comes after the announcement of Reding T Sangma on the creation of a new outfit, breaking away from the erstwhile GNLA and adding fear that the peace settlement may need more thought.

Reding Sangma announced the floating a new outfit - A'chik Songna An'pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK), which means ‘Vanguards of Garoland’. Apart from the new outfit, he has also formed a conglomeration of outfits in South Garo Hills (SGH), namely, United People's Revolutionary Alliance (UPRA), comprising of United A'chik Liberation Army (UALA), A'chik National Liberation Army (ANLA) and Breakaway faction of A'chik National Volunteer Council (ANVC-B).
The Eastern Area Command of GNLA, Nawal Sangma clarified, "Reding deserted us after being appointed as the grievance secretary. He invested the outfits' Rs 70 lakhs on coal and rubber business, which is managed by his new mistress". He alleged that Reding used GNLA's letter pads and stamps even after his removal from the post of finance secretary and had extorted huge amounts of money from Tura, Baghmara and Nongalbibra.
Nawal also revealed that Reding had murdered his own comrade identified as Joksret, a youth from Mindikgre at Paromgre village, believing him to be a police informer. He claimed that Reding was the only one to kill one of its own adding that no other member from the GNLA had ever executed its cadres.
The militant leader also accused the former finance secretary of being a womanizer and claimed that he deserted the outfit only in fear of action being taken against him for his misdeeds by the outfit's leadership.
Reding Sangma, on the other hand, accused GNLA's commander-in-chief, Sohan D Shira, of deviating from the original goal of the outfit and his dictatorship.
Speaking on the reason for the break up, Reding said, "We formed the GNLA to fight for Garoland and to protect our people. We wanted to take the cause of Garos to a higher level. Over the years GNLA gained from strength to strength until Sohan broke all rules of the organization and began to take decisions without consulting the other leaders of the group".
He blamed Sohan for fratricidal killings within the GNLA group and for targeting other outfits like the ANVC-B and the Norrok X Momin led UALA. “We were unhappy with Sohan's dictatorship due to which many cadres left the organization,” he stated.
He further accused Sohan of accumulating wealth by extorting traders and businessmen of all communities including Garos. Even the government officers were not spared the diktat. They had to pay tax. He even questioned Sohan's role on the formation of the outfit and said that the GNLA C-in-C is now trying to ink a deal for peace to enjoy the riches he has gathered.
Meanwhile, the ANVC - B has signed the "agreed text for settlement" on January 5 last year and is negotiating a peace with the government.
The new outfit (ASAK) has most senior members from GNLA with Jack Marak as its finance secretary. Other members are Cheo Challang as its Chairman, Dilsrang Sangma as it deputy C-in-C, Dura Matgrik as its secretary and Anmisil Marak as its joint secretary.


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