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Warjri blames frustration

P.B.O. Warjri

Shillong, July 2: Meghalaya chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri today said the law and order problem in Garo hills may have been fuelled by the “frustration” of people over years of social backwardness and failed economic and political expectations.

In his first media interaction with reporters here today after taking charge on June 30, Warjri said, “We cannot make sweeping comments on the reasons for the rise of militancy. There are various factors and we have to look at all aspects.”

Officially, Meghalaya has 10 militant groups — nine operating in Garo hills — and eight of which emerged from or after 2010.

Stating that lack of development could be a contributing factor, he said years of social backwardness might have increased the frustration of the people.

Terming the law and order situation in Garo hills as “grave”, Warjri, who had earlier served in insurgency-hit Manipur, said militant groups there were more organised with specific ideologies but in Meghalaya, they appear to come up quickly for short-term gains. Informing that the state government had adopted certain approaches towards achieving peace, Warjri said deployment of forces was mainly for dealing with the immediate situation and maintaining law and order. For long-term measures, the government has looked to go for negotiation besides taking up social development activities, he added.

“Law and order has been the government’s priority and absence of peace blocks the way for development,” he said.

Asked if the state would no longer hold talks with militants, Warjri said the state government and the Centre has been working together on how to go about it.