Top militant arrested in Meghalaya

Monday, July 19, 2010

SHILLONG - A top leader of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) was arrested Monday along the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, a Border Security Force (BSF) official said.

“(Self-styled) Seargent Major Joplin Pohtam was arrested this (Monday) morning after he sneaked into the country from Bangladesh through Umsyiem village in Meghalaya,” BSF spokesman Ravi Gandhi told IANS.

Pohtam is a trusted-aide of Bobby Marwein, the chief of the military wing of the HNLC.

Marwein is believed to hiding in Bangladesh. He carries a cash reward of Rs.1 lakh for his arrest.

“It is a prize catch and he (Pohtam) is also one of the prime accused in the killing of a coal exporter Raja Khongsit in December last year and was involved in killing of Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) leader Phershal Kongwang,” Superintendent of Police Claudia Lyngwa said.

Kongwang had been missing from Dec 16, 2007 after he was reportedly abducted by HNLC cadres from Umkrem village in southern Meghalaya.

However, the HNLC has denied its involvement in killing of the student leader.

The HNLC, which runs hit-and-run operations from its hideout in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya shares a 443 km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration.

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