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Opposition MLAs seek governor help

Shillong, Nov. 25: Opposition legislators, under the banner of Meghalaya People’s Forum (MPF) today implored governor Krishan Kant Paul to intervene and ensure that normality returns to Meghalaya, which is plagued by insurgency-related problems and other issues.

Led by Opposition leader Donkupar Roy, the MLAs met Paul at Raj Bhavan this morning. They also submitted a memorandum which “censured” the Mukul Sangma government, apart from seeking the governor’s intervention.

In the memorandum, the legislators pointed out that in the last few months there has been a spurt in insurgency-related incidents in the Garo hills region.

They also pointed out that while five policemen were killed by militants in South Garo Hills earlier this month, as many as 19 civilians were killed in insurgency-related incidents from the beginning of the year till date.

“It is an open secret that people from all walks of life are being served demand/extortion notes. The general mood of the public all over Garo hills is that of dismay, frustration and despondency. The matter has also drawn the attention (sic) of the Prime Minister and the Union home minister which is unprecedented in the case of an otherwise peaceful state like Meghalaya,” the legislators stated.

The MPF legislators maintained that a thorough probe is required into the alleged “unholy nexus” between members of the ruling group and insurgents. “It is an admitted fact that the morale of the police force has been badly eroded by this nexus, making their tasks of policing a Herculean one,” they added.

Referring to the situation in Khasi-Jaintia hills, the legislators said the entire state had been experiencing a series of shutdowns, night road blockades and picketing of offices since September 2 after the breakdown of talks between the government and pressure groups on the inner-line permit (ILP) issue.

“All this has led to an enormous and an irrecoverable financial loss to the state and more importantly, loss of two innocent lives. There seems to be no breakthrough in this impasse because of the indifferent attitude of the government,” the legislators stated.

“The situation warrants your immediate intervention as the need of a meaningful and structured dialogue cannot be overemphasised and the imperative of your stepping in becomes unavoidable,” the MPF legislators further stated. The MLAs also pointed out that the government had “failed” to handle the situation in the Khasi-Jaintia hills and tackling insurgency in the Garo hills.

“We genuinely fear that this situation has the potential to spiral out of control leading to a total breakdown of law and order,” the legislators added.

An official communiqué said the governor had urged the legislators not to support shutdowns and blockades.

He also conveyed that remaining passive and not condemning such restraints could be misunderstood as tacit support, and hence the legislators should clearly indicate that they do not support restraints, the communiqué added.

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