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Meet on Garo hills situation
- GNLA refuses to sign peace pact under ANVC umbrella

Tura, Jan. 22: Civil society and Church leaders today met here to discuss the prevailing law and order situation in the Garo hills. The meeting decided to urge chief minister to ensure an early peace settlement for the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC).

The ANVC had entered into a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the Centre and state in July 2004.

The meeting expressed concern over the recent encounter at Tura, where four cadres of the breakaway faction of ANVC were killed. They also decided to submit a memorandum to the government to ensure safety and security of the people.

Lauding chief minister Mukul Sangma’s decision to allow all outfits to come under the ambit of ANVC, the meeting appealed all outfits to come forward to be part of the peace settlement.

The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) has, however, refused to be a part of the peace settlement. Sources said the GNLA has clearly indicated that it does not want to be a part of ANVC for inking any peace agreement.

Sources said, “The GNLA wants to come forward but would like to negotiate their terms and conditions.”

The GNLA operates in five districts of the Garo hills and in neighbouring Goalpara district of Assam. The outfit has been fighting for a separate Garoland state since 2009.

GNLA chairman Champion Sangma is lodged in Shillong Jail. The outfit has been unleashing terror across the five Garo hills districts.

Meghalaya police have continued combing operations against the outfit, which retaliates if any of its cadres are killed in special weapons and tactics (SWAT) commando operation.

In December last year, the GNLA attacked a repeater station of the Meghalaya Police Radio Organisation (MPRO) at Chasinggre on the outskirts of Tura. The attack came a day after security forces overran their headquarters in the Durama hill range near Adugre village in East Garo Hills.

The same day, the outfit opened fire at IOC petrol pump in Chasinggre as well, injuring two — Nobo Hajong and Biswajit Shah.

The outfit has an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group A’chik Special Dragon (ASD). It also has links with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and the Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S).

The GNLA killed 46 people last year in the Garo hills, including nine policemen.