Tura, March 4: The formation of new outfits in Meghalaya’s Garo hills region has posed a serious law and order problem and the Mukul Sangma government is facing the ire of the Opposition and civil society for the mushrooming of insurgent activities.
Meghalaya’s chief Opposition whip, National People’s Party legislator James Sangma, has blamed the Congress for the “utter chaos in the state”. He termed Mukul’s rule as “weak and against the aspirations of the people”.
The delay in peace talks has led to the formation of new outfits, James said. “The law and order situation will be raised in the forthcoming Assembly session. We will corner the government left, right and centre. Mukul has to take responsibility for the situation,” he added.
He also stated that if the government fails to control the situation, Garo hills would surely be branded as a “disturbed” area.
Garo hills is facing the brunt of militancy, which is at its peak, with new outfits are emerging at the drop of a hat.
Activist Agnes Kharshiing said, “The free for all needs to be stopped by the state machinery either through dialogue or through the use of police action, but it has to be decisive. The situation cannot be left at the current flux. We want all of those who have diverted from the mainstream to come back in its fold.”
She further stated, “What has amazed the region is the non-committal stand of the government. It has never come forward to condemn the killing of civilians. The civilians in Garo hills have paid the price of insurgency for the last two decades.”
Castigating the government, Kharshiing said, “When a politician gets a demand note from an outfit, it makes headlines for several weeks. However, when a civilian is killed as he is unable to pay the ‘taxes’, it is highlighted for a day and all is forgotten.”
An activist of the United Peace Movement, Jaynie Sangma, said, “We will continue our fight for peace in Garo hills. We will make our ardent appeal to insurgent groups to come forward to eschew peace.”
On the formation of new outfits, Jaynie said, “The creation of new groups is making people tizzy. How much money can people pay to several outfits, besides the robbers that prowl around! This free for all needs to stop and the government has to swing into action.”
Reacting to the GNLA’s offer for peace talks, Jaynie said, “It is a welcome move. We fail to understand why the government is still silent on the issue. Its attitude will pose a threat to the people, as they have to pay the price. The GNLA’s threat to go back to armed struggle can only make things worse.”
An activist from Phulbari, Bappun Sangma, said, “The government has to make its policy clear on dealing with insurgency in Garo hills. Enough is enough!”
Young entrepreneur Gaurav Singhal said, “We want our representatives to raise the security concerns of the people at the central level.”