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Plea to curtail operations on rebels

Tura, May 7: The Unified Peace Movement for the Garo Hills, a conglomerate of church leaders of various denominations and NGOs, today appealed to the government to curb its operations against insurgents.

In an operation last week, one GNLA cadre was killed at Chokpot in South Garo Hills. General secretary of the forum, Rev. Fr Januarius Sangma said, “We request the government to restrain its operations against the insurgent outfits.”

The forum had met governor K.K. Paul last week to discuss the deteriorating law and order situation in the region. “We are negotiating peace with the outfits, so operations against them may aggravate the situation,” said Fr Sangma.

The forum has submitted a memorandum to the governor urging the state to initiate peace talks with all underground outfits. “We requested the state government to invite all militant groups for talks. Peace can only be achieved through dialogue and not by hunting the rebels,” he said.

The clergyman is also of the view that militancy in the Garo hills had adversely affected its residents, especially those living in the rural areas.

“The GNLA has accepted the need for a peaceful settlement. We would like to urge the government to seize this opportunity and bring the outfit to the negotiating table. This will be a big step in restoring normality in the Garo hills,” he added.