The police officer who turned militant

A former deputy superintendent of police in Meghalaya has been keeping the force on its toes with a militant outfit he has launched. The police are struggling to contain a series of violent acts unleashed by the Garo National Liberation Army, and they have no clue about the whereabouts of its founder chairman, the former police officer.

Champion R Sangma, who had quit the police to float the outfit in 2009, was supposedly arrested by security forces in Mymensingh in Bangladesh, according to reports that surfaced in November 2011. There was also news that it was his obsession with Facebook and social networking sites that had made it possible for the security forces to nab him. But no one in the Meghalaya government or police is sure or wants to say anything about the supposed arrest, other than admitting that there has been no official confirmation from across the border.

Champion, whose real name is Pakchara R Sangma, is a postgraduate in philosophy from the Northeastern Hills University, Shillong. He was recruited to the Meghalaya Police Service as a DSP in 2004. But he remained on probation till 2009, until one day he disappeared. In early 2010, the police confirmed that the DySP, who had taken his service weapon, had set up an underground group.

The government is on record that during the probation period, his attendance was irregular, his behaviour and conduct was not satisfactory and he had failed to improve himself despite repeated warnings. Police records say he was a habitual drinker.

He hails from Songsak constituency in the backward East Garo Hills district, but the police do not have detailed records about his family background. Champion's batch mates from the Northeastern Police Academy say he neither showed a militant streak nor carried the impression of a good policeman in the making. But, having trained in the elite academy, he was well-equipped with the latest methods of guerilla warfare and can handle sophisticated weapons.

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