Tura, Jan. 20: The A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) has urged all militant groups operating in Garo hills to come forward to participate in the peace process.
The outfit signed the ceasefire agreement with Meghalaya and Delhi in September 2004.
On January 5, 2013, the outfit signed the agreed text for settlement with the government of Meghalaya and is waiting to sign the final memorandum of understanding.
However, the encounter at Darengagal near Chunmati, Dobasipara, where four rebels of the breakaway faction of the ANVC (B) were killed on January 12, has raised doubts.
The ANVC (B) has alleged that the government is trying to derail the peace talks.
ANVC publicity secretary Arist Sangma told The Telegraph today, “We are concerned about the situation. It is our appeal to all militant organisations to come forward for lasting peace in Garo hills. We want to ensure that the situation becomes normal once and for all and pave the way for development.”
The ANVC leader spoke in detail about their course of action. He said, “The signing of the agreed text for settlement is a major achievement. Though we had to scale down our demand for a separate homeland, we believe that the signing of final MoU will pave the way for development in Garo hills.”
Terming the cabinet decision to extend the term of the GHADC by another six months as significant, Arist Sangma said, “It will give adequate time to the government to work out modalities to sign the final MoU.”
On January 8, the government had announced the extension of the GHADC term, which expires on February 16.
ANVC (B) chairman Rimpu Marak had signed the agreed text for settlement, as ANVC leader. The outfit is yet to sign a ceasefire pact.
This has forced the Opposition in Meghalaya, including former Speaker Purno Sangma, to demand a probe.
Purno Sangma even branded chief minister Mukul Sangma a “common chairman” of all outfits.
Mukul Sangma has denied the allegations, saying Purno Sangma was trying to take advantage of the situation.
Rimpu Marak told The Telegraph, “The encounter at Darengagal is an attempt to force us to leave the signed pact. By filing cases against my outfit, the government thinks it can push us back to the jungle. But come hell or high water, we are staying and we will make sure that the settlement is beneficial to the public and not to politicians. This is my clear message to the government, politicians and the ANVC.”
On how the ANVC (B) could sign the agreed text for settlement without signing the ceasefire truce, he said, “The peace pact was not signed by Dilash Marak or Jerome Momin (ANVC leaders). It was signed by me. Mukul Sangma assured us of an equal status with the ANVC.”
“The draft agreement was signed last year and we are now waiting for the MoU. There can be no changes made without consulting those who signed the draft. The government cannot decide on its own, it has to be decided jointly.”
When it was pointed out that he has left the parent organisation and walked out to form the ANVC (B), Marak replied, “I was part of the parent organisation and I worked out all the modalities, which the ANVC leaders agreed to. So I know the mechanism that I accepted and I am sure it is going to benefit each and every individual only if I am there to execute it later.”