Arrested rebel escapes from hospital in Meghalaya

Shillong, July 17 (IANS) A top leader of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) escaped Wednesday from a hospital where he was admitted, police said.

Phyrnai Swer, a Meghalaya constable-turned-lieutenant of the HNLC, escaped from the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, a police official said.

"We are investigating how he escaped from the cell," Mariahom Kharkrang, the district police chief of East Khasi Hills, told IANS.

A massive manhunt has been launched to recapture the rebel.

"We are questioning the two constables guarding Phyrnai. If they are found guilty, they will be arrested," Kharkrang said.

Phyrnai was arrested Jan 24 from his wife's residence at Iawmusiang in Jowai town after he sneaked into India from Bangladesh.

Before joining the HNLC, Phyrnai was the chairman of a Meghalaya-based Retrieval Indigenous United Front outfit. He was arrested with all his other founding members.

The Khasi outfit is fighting for a sovereign Hynniewtrep homeland in the eastern part of Meghalaya.

The HNLC stages hit-and-run operations from hideouts in Bangladesh. Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and thus prone to infiltration.

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