Tura, Feb. 12: Meghalaya’s chief Opposition whip James K. Sangma termed yesterday’s bomb blast in Williamnagar an act of cowardice.
He blamed the ruling Congress-led government of Mukul Sangma as “weak, which is the cause of rising insurgency in the Garo hills”.
Terming the law and order situation of the Garo hills as chaotic, he sought a probe into the politician-militant nexus. “The Opposition will raise the issue of law and order problem in the Garo hills in the coming Assembly session.”
Castigating Mukul Sangma’s government for failing to control militancy, James sought additional deployment of security in sensitive areas of the Garo hills. He alleged that people in the Garo hills have to live in constant fear and remarked that if the situation remained unchanged, the Garo hills would be branded as a “disturbed” region. “It is high time the government takes concrete step to look into the law and order problem, otherwise the situation will turn out to be worse.” The blast at NRL petrol pump in Williamnagar was an indication that the outfits were very active and could unleash terror in any sensitive area, James added.
Making an appeal to the militants to shun violence, he urged the government to negotiate a truce. He said the present peace agreement, which is being discussed with A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and its breakaway faction, the ANVC (B), would not bear fruit till all outfits were brought to the negotiating table.
The NPP leader said the delay by the government in negotiating peace has been the cause for the birth of new outfits in the region.
Social welfare minister, Deborah C. Marak, an MLA from Williamnagar, condemned the blast. She said, “People should unite in condemning the act of terror.” She hoped that the peace agreement being discussed with the two factions of ANVC would yield results in turning around the situation. The government was committed to rooting out insurgency by initiating development and welfare programmes, she added.
Police has ruled out the involvement of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in yesterday’s blast. East Garo Hills superintendent of police Jerry Marak said, “We suspect the blast was triggered by United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA) and ANVC (B). We are probing the incident and would not like to speculate right now.” The petrol pump, which is located in the heart of town, adjacent to the civil hospital in Williamnagar, had a CCTV.
However, because of camera malfunction, the police have failed to get the vital clues. The blast took place at 8.30pm yesterday, damaging one of the pumps. However, there was no casualty.