New Delhi: The fight to stem and eradicate insurgency in the northeast of India is a continuing battle and perhaps a thankless one for central forces.
On December 30, Thursday, one militant, owing allegiance to Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has surrendered before the Border Security Force in remote parts of Meghalaya.
Junel Tongper, alias June, was a member of the banned militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC). Tongper surrendered before Inderjit Singh Rana, IG of BSF, Meghalaya at Umkiang in the East Jaintia Hills district, joined the "mainstream", a BSF official said.
The HNLC claims to work for Khasi and Jaintia tribal people. The organisation was proscribed in India on November 16, 2000, but the ban was later lifted, and yet again, it was banned in 2019.
After his surrender, Tongper attributed 'unemployment' as the main reason for joining militancy in 2010.
The BSF and other central forces are trying to reach out to several youths in Meghalaya and other parts of the region to join the mainstream.
Tongper was arrested by Meghalaya police in 2016 but was later released on bail. He again joined the militancy in 2020. Opening up 'old cases' has perhaps led him to join the HNLC outfit.
The surrendered cadre functioned as an "HNCL area commander in East Jaintia Hills."
Meghalaya has essentially three native tribes – Khasis, Jaintias and Garos.
In some parts of Meghalaya, sources say the demonetisation move in 2016 had also hit some militant organisations as their currency savings were declared illegal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.
The NPP, led by Conrad Sangma and BJP, along with smaller outfits, runs a coalition regime in the state.