Shillong, Aug. 14: The blunders of the past are perhaps making Meghalaya pay a heavy price. Today, chief minister Mukul Sangma, while reiterating that the delay in completing the peace process with the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) has led to the rise of splinter militant groups in Garo hills, said the ceasefire was incorrectly done as several cadres were still at large when the agreement was inked.
The 2004 tripartite agreement entered into by the Centre, state government and the ANVC for suspension of operations had generated hope for sustained peace in Garo hills and parts of West Khasi Hills.
However, Sangma said the delay in completing the peace process with the ANVC resulted in the emergence of fringe militant outfits with ramifications on the law and order scenario. Groups such as the GNLA, ANVC (B), United Achik Liberation Army (UALA), ASAK and others, whose leaders and cadres had once been a part of the ANVC, have emerged in the state’s western region.
Moreover, Sangma recalled that it was only at a later stage that it was realised that a large number of ANVC cadres with weapons had not come overground to be part of the Suspension of Operations.
“There were ANVC armed cadres who did not come forward, and continued to operate from jungles and indulge in extortion. The ceasefire was not done correctly,” he said, while speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting of the State Security Commission. From the ANVC, groups like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and the ANVC (B) have come up.
The GNLA gave rise to a breakaway faction known as the A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) while the United Achik Liberation Army (UALA) emerged from the ANVC (B).
The other outfits include the Achik National Unit Force (ANUF), A'chik National Liberation Army (ANLA), Achik Tiger Force (ATF), and the Achik National Central Liberation Army (ANLCA).
Earlier this year, the Centre had given its nod to the “agreed text for settlement” with the ANVC while the “memorandum of settlement” is pending finalisation and signing.