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Int�l border a source of arms: Sangma

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, March 11 - Meghalaya�s international border is possibly the source of sophisticated arms like anti- aircraft guns which are now being procured by the Maoists, State Chief Minister Mukul Sangma indicated in the Assembly today.

Sangma raised the alarm while replying to the debate on Governor�s address by stating that a recent interception of an arms consignment in the State consisted of sophisticated spare parts of anti-aircraft guns. He, however, did not elaborate on the illegal consignment.

Sangma later said Maoists were procuring anti-aircraft guns and going around with AK-47s by doing away with their antique muzzle-loading guns.

Stating that there are �too many sources� of arms and ammunition coming into the State and then moving out of the region, he said these arms are being procured at a �throw away price�.

�AK-47s can be procured by anyone at just Rs 2 lakh in this part of the country. These arms are going outside the region,� the Chief Minister warned.

Appealing to the Northeastern States to cooperate in tackling this dangerous situation of arms smuggling into the country and seeking the Centre�s assistance, Sangma said: �Government of India must take care of the international border.�

Meghalaya shares 443 kms of its border with Bangladesh and in several areas there are huge gaps, which militants and anti-nationals take advantage of to sneak in with arms and ammunition.

Allowing that easy access to arms, ammunition and explosives have kept militancy alive in Meghalaya, especially Garo Hills, Sangma said. �Militant leaders become adventurous because of this easy access to arms and explosives.�

Resolving to continue to fight militancy, Sangma said, the State Government is in the process of strengthening its internal security apparatus and is raising a Special commando force called Special Force -10.

Moreover, to eliminate militancy from the State, the root cause of its emergence is being dealt with by providing all round development to the people, especially the youths.

Regarding Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Sangma said that the banned outfit cannot continue with its anti-national and unlawful activities and still desire to sit for talks.

He informed the House that the Union Government has categorically stated in a recent communication that unless a banned outfit refrains from anti-national and unlawful activities, no discussion with it can take place.

Sangma said that the HNLC has expressed its desire to sit for talks, but still continues to boycott celebrations like Independence and Republic Day.

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