SHILLONG, June 13 � Concerned over the growing militant activities in the Garo Hills region of the State, the Meghalaya Government is likely to raise more special weapons and tactics teams (SWAT) for operations in unmanned, remote and adverse areas.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who reviewed the security in the three districts of Garo Hills at a meeting in Tura today, was briefed about the lacunae of police machinery in the State, including shortage of manpower, official sources said.
During the meeting, police officials led by DIG (Western Range) GHP Raju expressed need for more teams of specially trained men and vehicles to access remote and difficult terrains.
At present some 50 SWAT commandos, trained in counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police at Mahindanda in Uttaranchal and the Counter Insurgency and Terrorist School at Dergaon in Assam last year, are operating in Garo Hills.
The Chief Minister assured during the meeting that he would immediately take up the issue of training more policemen on the lines of the SWAT team, the sources said.
When the police referred to areas having virtually no presence of security personnel, Sangma asked the department to prepare a proposal as to how these areas can be covered by setting up of more outposts and anti-dacoity camps.
Sangma stressed on better coordination between the police and BSF, as reports have indicated frequent movement of insurgents across the international border with Bangladesh.
The security meeting also discussed the issue of militants using mobile phones for their activities, taking serious view of the procurement of SIM cards without verification and roaming facilities.
Sangma ordered a detailed report on this issue and said he may take up the issue with the Union Home Ministry if required, the sources said.
The Meghalaya Police Special Branch, a few months back, sent a list of 3,500 numbers, reportedly being used by people who were suspects, to a private telecom operator for verification. Some 2,500 numbers in the list were disconnected later.
An executive of a mobile company posted at Tura, who allegedly issued over 1,000 connections in one name, was also booked.
Police have detected numbers registered in places like Manipur and Nagaland and traced to persons who are living in Garo Hills for months together.
Several MLAs, including Cabinet ministers, besides government officers, have received SMS threats in the recent past from militant groups. � PTI