ASAK chief Sangma surrenders in Meghalaya

Shillong, March 2 (IANS) Meghalaya’s most wanted militant, Reading T. Sangma alias Saljapang of A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK), surrendered on Thursday after playing a cat and mouse game with the security forces for the past four to five years.

Sangma, the ‘commander-in-chief’ of ASAK, surrendered with seven aides before Abraham Sangma, police chief of South Garo Hills district bordering Bangladesh, in the wake of the counter-insurgency operations in the district, a police official said.

Those who surrendered include Tengrang A. Sangma alias Gring, Pintu R. Marak alias Waira, Kiljang M. Sangma alias Amrak, Seldom K. Sangma alias Jorai besides three over ground workers of the militant outfit — Hame Ch. Marak, Biani Ch. Marak and Tengman M. Sangma.

The militants also deposited one HK-rifle along with 128 rounds, one HK magazine, three smooth-bore breech loading guns, eighteen 12-bore cartridges, 22 electronic detonators and explosive powders, four wireless handsets besides incriminating documents.

ASAK militants, who operate mainly in the South Garo Hills district bordering Bangladesh, have been involved in a series of kidnappings of Assam traders for ransom.

“They gave up mainly due to the ongoing counter-insurgency operations against (ASAK) and GNLA (Garo National Liberation Army) militants besides pressure from peace committee to come over ground,” Abraham told IANS.

“The surrender is a major achievement for us and we expect others (militants) to toe the line. Their surrender marks the end of the Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) outfit which had unleashed a reign of terror in the district for the past many years,” he said.

The ASAK, which means “vanguards of Garoland”, is fighting for a separate Garoland out of Meghalaya.

In September 2015, ASAK militants were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Intelligence Bureau officer Bikash Singh and cloth merchant Kamal Saha.