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Mukul admits law & order ‘problem’

Shillong, March 12: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today admitted in the Assembly that there was a “problem” in the law and order front in the state while another legislator remarked that “militancy” has become like an “industry” in the Garo hills region.

Replying to the debate on the governor’s address, Sangma reminded the legislators about the law and order situation prevailing in the state more than a decade ago, when militants would come and kill police personnel even in the heart of the state capital. While stating that various measures have been undertaken by successive governments to counter militancy, the chief minister said the state was yet to free itself from the trend of mushrooming militant groups.

“One of the reasons why people have joined militant groups could be for making easy money. People have not joined on the basis of certain convictions, ideologies or principles,” the chief minister said.

He said the police force is getting support from the government to tackle militancy and informed the House that the security forces would be technologically equipped to counter militants.

Sangma said while the government has been embarking upon a number of initiatives to bring about development, a lot more was needed. “It is easy to flag problems, but solving them is not easy,” he added.

Earlier, South Tura legislator John Leslee K. Sangma told the House that militancy in the Garo hills has become “like an industry”.

“Today, if I have to go for a picnic with my children, I have to think thrice. There is the sense of insecurity in the Garo hills. Today, militancy has become like an industry,” he said while taking part in the debate.

On the easy availability of arms and ammunition, he asked, “Why do we repeatedly see the inflow of illegal arms? Are we not taking steps to stop this inflow? Anyone with arms can start extorting from people. Is there some kind of patronage by politicians as reported in the media?”

The legislator, after quoting crime statistics available with the police department, did not believe that crime was well under control in the state.

“I do not believe that crime is under control when a deputy commissioner has to run for his life when he receives a demand notice. Let us put the record straight,” he said.

Stating that he felt elated when a woman was appointed as the first home minister in Meghalaya, he said, “But I feel dismayed when false claims on the law and order front are made. Such claims have undermined the common sense, intellect and knowledge of the legislators and the media.”