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Don’t mess with us, rebels tell politicians

Shillong, Nov. 25: The ANVC’s breakaway faction — the ANVC (B) — today warned politicians not to “underestimate” the group, although on Friday it had said it would not disturb the upcoming Assembly polls.

“We have issued warnings to politicians not to lure people through money and false promises. Yet, we find that some of them are crossing those boundaries to buy votes. Underestimating ANVC (B) will be fatal and destructive to the politicians as well as to their workers,” ANVC (B) chairman Rimpu N. Marak said in a statement.The warning came a day after armed militants made a daring attack on former Meghalaya deputy chief minister Deborah C. Marak.

Yesterday, Marak, who is also the Meghalaya PCC working president, had a narrow escape in Rongbinggre village, aroud 11km from Williamnagar, in East Garo Hills, when around 10 heavily armed militants — allegedly owing allegiance to the ANVC (B) —opened fire while she was about to distribute the prizes during the finals of a football tournament.

“They had put the trigger on my back and threatened to kill me. I then asked them the reason. They said I cannot campaign for my elections without their permission,” Marak, who was injured in the incident, told The Telegraph.

“I told them that they should listen to me first before they decide to shoot me down. I then negotiated with them and said the programme I was attending was not a political campaign,” she said.

The former deputy chief minister replied in the negative when asked whether she received any extortion note from any militant group prior to yesterday’s incident.

Marak reached the capital city today afternoon from Williamnagar and received treatment.

Her right knee was injured yesterday after the panic-stricken people around her pushed her down when the militants indiscriminately fired in the air.

The PCC working president will contest from Williamnagar constituency in the upcoming 2013 Assembly polls slated to be held in February-March. She had won the 1998 and 2003 elections before being defeated in the 2008 polls.

“Ignorance will face the snares. Some politicians just cannot interpret the language we speak, sometimes bullets work better,” the ANVC (B) chairman said.

He said for free and fair election, aspirants must first stop being corrupt.

“Please pay heed to the given warnings and show some initiatives before campaigning. It is time to show results. We are also interested to know the implementation of the Rs 5 crore area development scheme of each legislator to make sure that public money is not being used for political campaigns,” the ANVC (B) chairman added.

But on Friday, the ANVC (B) chairman categorically stated: “ANVC (B) will not disturb the upcoming elections. We are looking forward to the elections as we hope to see a change. This time, people are more conscious and cautious of the aspiring candidates and I believe their manifestos have to be well drafted. But making false promises, including distribution of money, will not be entertained.”

The ANVC (B) came to the fore earlier this year and had been asking the state government to call the group for peaceful negotiations.

The Meghalaya PCC strongly condemned yesterday’s incident and sought a high-level inquiry into the incident.

“The PCC views this as an attack on the democratic rights of the people of this free nation to organise public activities and functions,” PCC president D.D. Lapang said in a statement.

He said the PCC wants the truth unearthed and the perpetrators of the crime brought to book.