BSF DG knows little about GNLA boss in Bangladesh

Shillong, June 23 (IANS)

Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chief Champion R. Sangma, who was arrested by Bangladesh forces last year, is lodged in “some jail” in that country, according to the Border Security Force (BSF) chief.

Champion, who claims to be fighting for a separate Garoland, was arrested by Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) commandos Nov 23, 2011, from Haluaghat in Mymensingh district.

“I am told he (Champion) is in some jail in Bangladesh for a long time now,” BSF Director General U.K. Bansal told journalists here Friday.

Asked whether India will seek extradition of Champion, Bansal said: “We do not know the status whether he (Champion) is on trial, but what we know is that he is in jail. Therefore, the question of his extradition arises only after he completes the sentence or trial.”

Champion, a former deputy superintendent of police, deserted Meghalaya Police and floated the GNLA due to alleged harassment by his seniors.

The banned outfit, which has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group A’chik Special Dragon Party, has unleashed a reign of terror in three impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the western part of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced.

It has forged an operational alliance with a breakaway faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

Both the Assam-based rebel groups have transformed the GNLA into a violent group with access to sophisticated weapons and ammunitions.

Over 30 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the Garo Hills in the last one year by GNLA rebels. The GNLA has over 100 rebels, including a few women cadres.