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Mukul rules out dialogue on ‘Garoland’

- Meghalaya chief minister asks militants to shun violence and join mainstream

Tura, Aug. 9: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today invited militant outfits to shun violence and join the mainstream.

However, he categorically stated that no dialogue on the issue of a separate Garoland would be entertained.

He assured that the militants would avail of benefits from the government if they came forward and followed the path of peace.

“We have designed a comprehensive mechanism to rehabilitate militants,” he said.

Speaking to The Telegraph, he said, “The government is willing to provide all assistance to rehabilitate militants, if they surrender and give up arms struggle.”

On dialogue with outfits, he said, “We are not willing to discuss the issue of Garoland. We have already signed the agreed text for settlement with the A’chik National Volunteer’s Council (ANVC).”

On the ongoing law and order situation, he said, “Outfits are working against the community to disrupt public order.”

Saying that no arms movement is required for a separate state, he said, “The issue of Garoland is being raised by all outfits in their own interest. They are being supported by organisations working against India’s interest.”

Stating that the government would act tough against anti-national activities, he said, “Cases are being registered against outfits for disrupting peace and indulgence in criminal activities. We will file a chargesheet against them. The law will take its own course.”

On the progress of peace talks with the ANVC, he said, “The Centre has assured us of taking the matter forward, after the parliamentary session ends. We are expecting that it will be given top priority. I am confident that the issue will be resolved.”

On the GNLA, he said, “The Centre has denied holding peace talks. They should abstain from violence and come forward without any condition.”

The government has extended the tenure of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council by another six months to facilitate peace process with the outfit. The term of the council had expired in February this year.

Enrolment drive: Mukul Sangma and social welfare minister Deborah C. Marak today inspected the enrolment drive of the chief minister’s social assistance programme in Williamnagar, East Garo Hills.

At a gala event attended by nearly 5000 people, Sangma distributed enrolment forms, wheelchairs and walking sticks to the beneficiaries of Songsak and Samanda development blocks.

He said, “We want to complete the enrolment to ensure that no one is left out in the process and by next month, we will be able to release the assistance to the needy.”

Under the scheme, an assistance of Rs 500 per month will be distributed at a mela to be organised by the social welfare department in different blocks of the state.

The chief minister said at least 10 per cent of the adult population would benefit from the scheme. “We have designed the scheme to touch the lives of the people,” he added.


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