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Rally against Garo hills militancy

Dhubri, June 11: An all-party meeting held in view of frequent abductions of non-Garo businessmen by the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and other militant groups from Garo hills district resolved to organise a mass protest on June 16 at Hatsinghimari.

The meeting held at Hatsinghimari Press Club hall yesterday expressed deep resentment over inaction by Meghalaya police and demanded the government to ensure the security of businessmen from Assam in Garo hills district.

Speaking to The Telegraph, South Salmara-Mancachar district AIUDF president, Abdus Salam Shah, said the traders and common men are fed up with the growing incidents of kidnap, extortion and killing by the militants of Garo hills districts of Meghalaya. They are now scared of visiting the markets to sell and buy their products.

“Two militant groups, te GNLA and United Achik Liberation Army (UALA), have let loose a reign of terror in Garo hills and in the villages of Dhubri district along the Assam-Meghalaya inter-state border. It has become extremely difficult for people to trade and live peacefully,” Shah said. BJP South Salmara-Mancachar district president Banwari Lal Agarwala, who chaired yesterday’s meeting, said a protest rally would be organised on June 16 and a memorandum to the chief ministers of Assam, Meghalaya, Union home minister and the Prime Minister would be sent in the first phase.

“We are also seriously considering to meet home minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appraise them about the ground realities arising out of this militancy,” Agarwal said.

All political parties, including the BJP, AIUDF and Congress have joined together to organise the rally on June 16 at Hatsinghimari.

An AIUDF source in Hatsinghimari said traders of South Salmara-Mancachar subdivision of Dhubri district are apprehensive of visiting adjacent Garo hills in Meghalaya following the abduction of several businessmen by militants. As many as 200 people were kidnapped in the last five years and over 50 this year. Militants killed several businessmen in the past and extorted crores of rupees from traders, the source alleged.