Ex-insurgents of disbanded group urge Meghalaya govt to release promised package

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Williamnagar (Meghalaya), Apr 7 (PTI) Former cadres of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a disbanded outfit, on Wednesday urged the Meghalaya government to provide them with the benefits promised to them when they surrendered around five years ago.

The former GNLA members, who held a meeting at Chisobibra village near Williamnagar in East Garo Hills district, said that the full economic package should be released to check the 'misguided youths' from getting into crimes.

The claims of the former GNLA cadres will be examined, a source in the state home department said.

Formed in 2009, the GNLA fought for a 'sovereign Garoland' in the Western part of Meghalaya. Over 200 members of the organisation had in 2016 laid down arms following assurances of a financial package to help rebuild their lives.

More than 70 former members of the outfit attended the meeting and alleged that most of them did even get the basic package.

'We request the government to release the economic package so that most of the misguided youths of the region do not get into petty or big crimes. The money which the Centre had promised to us will go a long way in bettering the lives of most of us,' said Briyan Sim Marak, who was a senior leader of the outfit.

As per an order of the Ministry of Home Affairs, an amount of Rs 4 lakh should be deposited in a bank as a fixed deposit for three years for each surrendered militant of the Northeastern region. They should also get a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for three years.

However, the total rehabilitation package has not been provided to anyone, the GNLA leaders said.

The incentive for surrendering arms and ammunition too has not been given to them, they claimed.

'There were reports that many surrendered GNLA cadres were involved in petty crimes. How can they be blamed? The state government needs to be blamed as it did not give them the promised package,' another senior leader Rupanto Marak said.

The surrendered GNLA members also alleged that the government's promise of dismissing most of the court cases against them has not been fulfilled. PTI COR JOP NN NN