Our Special Correspondent
A former rebel commander, who was one of the founders of the banned GNLA militant outfit, has announced his desire to fight the upcoming assembly elections in 2023 from the Chokpot constituency of South Garo Hills.
Novembirth Ch Marak, the militant leader, told media persons in Tura that he has decided to throw his hat into the political battlefield for next year’s state polls.
“I have been working to uplift education in the Chokpot region for a long time and opened as many as five schools for the benefit of the children in the villages. I have witnessed for myself the lack of any form of development in the constituency. There are no roads, proper schools or even medical facilities despite Chokpot electing public representatives for the last 50 years,” said Marak while justifying his decision to join politics.
He will be the second former militant leader to enter the political fray, after BJP’s Bernard N Marak who won the Tura MDC seat in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council in 2021. Bernard is a contender for the South Tura assembly seat that is currently held by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma. Bernard currently remains in prison over the seizure of explosives during a police raid on his farmhouse in July.
The new entity for Chokpot assembly polls, Novembirth Ch Marak, was among five men who formed the Garo National Liberation Army from a jungle hideout in East Garo Hills at the start of what is known as another dark decade of militancy in the Garo Hills in 2010.
The GNLA came into being just as another rebel outfit A’Chik National Volunteers’ Council signed a ceasefire with the state and its cadres had come over ground after spreading terror for more than a decade.
Led by former ANVC commander Sohan D Shira and a Meghalaya deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Champion R Sangma, Novembirth Marak was part of the founding group of the GNLA. He was the general secretary of the new outfit.
A police raid forced him to flee to Siliguri in North Bengal where he was picked up along with a woman from a bus station by plain clothed police men from Tura.
He served jail term and once out on bail went to form another rebel group called United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA) as its chairman in 2013. He joined hands with a notorious criminal called Singbirth alias Norrok X Momin to start the rebel group.
The UALA was involved in the daring raid on Williamnagar district jail where Norrok executed two unarmed jail wardens before fleeing.
The group was also involved in the cold blooded killing of seven Rabha villagers at Gendabari village of Goalpara on the night of Diwali.
Following that dastardly attack, the group disappeared for months until Novembirth Marak was caught by Guwahati police from inside a private hospital where he was recuperating after a gallbladder surgery.
The UALA ultimately signed a ceasefire and gave up the armed struggle, except for Norrok Momin who continued his criminal activities before being gunned down by North Garo Hills police in an encounter in February 2017 as he prepared to form a new rebel group called United A’chik National Front.