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12000 march for peace in North Garo Hills

Schoolchildren take part in the rally at Resubelpara on Tuesday. Pictures by Saidul Khan

Tura, Aug. 19: Over 12,000 people today gathered at Resubelpara in the North Garo Hills to voice their anger against rising insurgency in Garo hills and decided to make peace a “permanent fixture”.

The rally condemned several ghastly acts of cold-blooded murder, including that of Jospin M. Sangma and Bittu Patel.

They also raised their voice against the abduction of children, traders, bankers and government officials.

The rally is an initiative of the Citizens’ Forum for Peace, a civil society group based in Resubelpara.

Different speakers addressed the gathering at Dekachang playground before the rally.

“We have lost faith in the government as they have failed to contain the situation. We have to stand united to send our voice of resent and anger,” said Dolly K. Sangma, a convener of the peace initiative. “Their fight for Garoland by killing people can never be justified. They have to come forward for peace and dialogue.”

Speaking before the crowd, an activist of the peace initiative, Khanin Momin, said, “Militant highhandedness cannot continue forever. The violence has to stop at any cost. Nobody should claim that they are fighting for Garoland by killing innocent people and kidnapping.”

The huge participation of students at the rally showed the frustration of the people against growing militancy.

“There is an absolute need for peace, so we have allowed our students to be part of the initiative,” said a sister of a convent school.

Sonatchi Sangma, a Class X student who took part in the rally, said, “We want to send out a message that our parents, brothers and sisters should not be kidnapped.”

A college student termed the growing incidents of kidnapping and cold-blooded murder as “cowardly acts”.

“We can’t tolerate their actions anymore. It is getting on our nerves. What are they trying to prove by unleashing terror?” he asked.