Shillong, April 6: The Achik National Volunteers Council (breakaway) today said the militant group would raise the demand for a greater Garoland and also go for a separate truce with the government.
Nado R. Marak, personal secretary to Mokus Marak, the self-styled commander-in-chief of ANVC (breakaway) said, “The group will still aspire for a greater Garoland and we would like to come to a separate truce with the government.”
The original demand of the ANVC was for greater Garoland, which includes all the three districts of Garo hills, and Garo-dominated areas of West Khasi Hills as well as Goalpara and Kamrup districts in Assam.
Nado said the split in ANVC took place in July 2004, when a section of the ANVC leaders, including Sohan D. Shira, the current commander-in-chief of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), signed a ceasefire agreement and came overground.
“Our group was deliberately left out and not brought under the ceasefire. We continued to stay in the jungle under the command of Mokus Marak who headed the army wing. We were waiting for someone to take the initiative and lead us, as we, too, wanted to be a part of the talks,” Nado added.
The breakaway faction of ANVC had in the past claimed that it had at least 300 cadres. According to Nado, the number of cadres under ANVC (breakaway) “should not surprise” anyone.
“We re-grouped all trained cadres who were left out of the peace process and those who had been sent back by ANVC leaders on some pretext,” Nado said.
The rebel leader said the ANVC (breakaway) had welcomed them all back to their camps because the GNLA and people with vested interest wanted to use them.
“The cadres are happy with us and they feel very safe in the camps,” he added.
“After disowning the breakaway group, the leaders of the ANVC went on denying the presence of ANVC (breakaway), and they are also unwilling to accept our existence,” Nado said.
He said the cadres of the breakaway group were blamed for the mistakes committed by the ANVC leaders.
Referring to Rimpu (also known as Bernard Marak alias Torik Marak) who was the ANVC spokesperson, Nado said, “Sir Rimpu stood for us ever since he visited our camps and took all responsibility to include us in the talks. However, his efforts were halted all the time for reasons best known to the ANVC leaders.”
Nado also appreciated the efforts of Rimpu in reaching out to them.
The ANVC leaders had asked him to report to them at the earliest, after he deserted them recently. According to Nado, Rimpu, Mokus and some other officers had shared their concerns about the policy being adopted by the ANVC leadership.
He also knew that one day the ceasefire agreement would collapse, if sincere efforts were not initiated in taking the peace process to its logical conclusion.