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GNLA releases mediators’ list

(Top) Mukul Sangma and (above) Sohan D. Shira

Tura, March 19: The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) today released its official letter for approval of mediators between the government and the outfit.

The outfit is demanding creation of a separate Garoland state carved out of Meghalaya.

The outfit has shown its willingness to come forward for talks. However, the government has not responded positively.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma has maintained that he wants to examine the situation before taking any decision.

Home minister Roshan Warjri said, “The GNLA is a banned outfit and the Centre’s decision on the matter is awaited.”

Outfit commander-in-chief Sohan D. Shira in the release said, “The GNLA has approved the unified peace movement and advocate Sujit Dey for negotiating the peace parleys.”

The unified peace movement is to be represented by Rev. Father Januarius Sangma, Rev. Brother Insting C. Marak, Rev. Brother Boomimerin C. Marak, Jova Marak, M.D. Shira, Tonti Marak, Jaynie N. Sangma, Babyana M. Sangma, Marilyne D. Shira, Roger Benny A. Sangma and R.D. Shira.

Peace rallies are being held across Garo hills to drum up support for convincing the government to sit for peace talks.

In the last several months, Garo hills has witnessed a spurt in violent activities, with formation of new outfits.

Though the government had welcomed all insurgent groups to come forward under the aegis of the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) in January, the GNLA has refused.

Last week, Shira had released a video describing their demand as legitimate. He had said creation of Garoland could be achieved through political dialogue.

“Garoland is our birthright, we are born with this right and we will die with this right,” he said, adding, “Our demand is very much constitutional.”

Vowing to continue their struggle for Garoland, Shira said, “We acknowledge the contribution of our cadres, who have been killed, arrested, tortured and kept behind bars. They left their homes and their precious life for Garoland. We will struggle till we achieve it.”

The outfit’s fresh statement said, “At this juncture, we highly appreciate the invitation of governor K.K. Paul. In return, we demand immediate release of our jailed chairman, Champion Sangma.”

The ANVC is on ceasefire with Delhi and Meghalaya. The outfit has signed an “agreed text for settlement” on January 5, 2013, and is holding discussions on according more autonomy to the existing Garo Hills Autonomous District Council.

The breakaway faction of the ANVC led by Rimpu Marak has also signed the peace agreement.