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Meghalaya rebel group sends extortion demands to officials

Shillong, July 16 (Calcutta Tube) The Garo National Liberation Army, a militant group operating in Meghalaya, has sent extortion demands ranging from Rs.30-40 lakh each to three government officials through mobile text messages, an official Friday said.

The outfit has sent the extortion demands to the district transport officer and block development officer in East Garo Hills district, while a sub-divisional officer (civil) at Resubelpara received an extortion note signed by GNLA finance secretary Jagpil Sangma.

‘Police have registered a case following complaints lodged by the officials and a probe is on,’ East Garo Hill Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi told IANS.

A cabinet minister in the previous D.D. Lapang ministry revealed in March that he had received a number of text messages from the GNLA asking him to ‘contribute to the organisation or face the consequences’.

The former minister, who did not wish to be named, claimed some Garo legislators too had received such text messages from the GNLA.

The GNLA had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore on petrol pump owners, coal dealers and businessmen in the coal-rich districts of Garo Hills.

A retired inspector general of police was among those who received the extortion note.

Champion R.Sangma, a deputy superintendent of police turned rogue, is believed to be heading GNLA, whose cadres are deserters, mostly from the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF).

Police are hunting for Sangma, but so far without success.

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