SHILLONG: Notwithstanding the elimination of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in Garo Hills, the Assam-based United Liberation Front of Asom (independent) continues to use the South Garo Hills stretch of the Indo-Bangladesh border as its corridor.
This came into light a few days ago before the Durga puja when there was a gun fight between suspected ULFA militants with the raiding team of the State police. This was confirmed by a top Police official over the phone on Thursday. The GNLA was once an active partner of the ULFA before it was wiped out by the police.
"However, as a goodwill gesture at that period of time, the Assam-based group was able to have access through the areas along the international border," stated the official. He also said that it is through the Rongra belt that smuggling and movement of ultras are often noticed.
Interestingly, the NSCN is also understood to be in league with the ULFA cadres to use the corridor to Bangladesh, informed the top official. When the there was a brief encounter between the suspected militants and the police on October 20, the self-styled senior leader of the proscribed Assam outfit, Dristi Rajkhowa was suspected to have been there along with with around seven to eight members.
Confirming that militancy has come to a grinding stop in the Garo Hills districts, the source pointed out that the ULFA cadres intermittently use the passage to proceed to Bangladesh.
The GNLA was wiped out in February 2018 when Sohan D Shira — a close ally of Dristi Rajkhowa alias Manoj Rabha — was gunned down. The ULFA has re-established its links with new potential recruits, added sources.