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M’laya warn against paying extortion
Published on 25 Jul. 2010 11:07 PM IST
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Meghalaya Home Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh Sunday asked government officials not to pay illegal tax imposed by a militant outfit, the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) or face legal action.
“We have received some information about GNLA sending extortion notices to some government officials,” Lyngdoh said, adding police have started their investigation.
The GNLA, a tribal militant outfit operating in Garo Hills region in Western part of Meghalaya, had sent extortion demands ranging from Rs.30-40 lakh each to three government officials through mobile text messages. 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.
“The government has directed all government officials to report to the police on extortion notices served on them or else face legal action if the government found them (officials) complying to the militant demands,” Lyngdoh said.
East Garo Hill Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said that police have registered a case following complaints lodged by the officials and a probe is on to nab the militants.
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.
M’laya cracks down on overloaded trucks
The Meghalaya government has cracked down on overloading trucks, penalising hundreds of trucks who violate norms while plying on highways.
On Friday, the East Garo Hills district administration collected a revenue of Rs 2,14,000 by penalising trucks carrying more than 15 tonnes of load, Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said today.
Over the last three days, the administration has raised over Rs 3 lakh by penalising over-laden trucks in the presence of magistrates.
“It seems coal truckers have got the message as it is learnt that many trucks are stranded ahead of Nengkhra because of vehicle checking in Dobu by police and magistrates.
Patrolling is underway by police to check toll gates, check-gates and weighbridges so that zero tolerance policy for illegalities on highways is enforced,” Bakshi said.
For regulation of the body structure of the trucks, some time frame for the truckers and associations to comply with the norms is being contemplated, he added.

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