Shillong, April 20: The Union ministry of home affairs, along with the Meghalaya government, today reviewed the implementation of the "agreed text for settlement" signed with two militant groups, the A'chik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) and its breakaway faction, the ANVC (B), and warned of taking legal action against cadres of such disbanded groups who do not follow the "ground rules."
The "agreed text for settlement" was inked in New Delhi on September 24, 2014, and both the groups were formally disbanded at a public ceremony at Tura in West Garo Hills district on December 15 the same year.
The MHA was represented by its joint secretary (Northeast) Satyendra Garg, who reviewed the progress made in implementing the agreement with the state officials.
Some of the key points contained in the agreement include the need to increase more seats in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council by amending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, giving more powers to the district council, besides rehabilitation of cadres of the disbanded militant groups.
Sources in the home department told The Telegraph that two committees - political and official - were constituted by the state government to look into matters related to enhancing the powers of the district councils in the state, and the matter was under consideration of the government.
Sources said officials from some departments of the state government also brought to the notice of the MHA official proposals related to developmental projects sent by the state to different central ministries that were pending approval.
"In this regard, the MHA official suggested the state officials to compile such pending proposals and send them to the ministry so that they can be followed up with various central ministries," a source said, adding that the MHA was also satisfied with progress made in the implementation of the "agreed text for settlement."
Asked about the rehabilitation of the cadres of the disbanded groups, sources said unlike the cadres of the ANVC, there were few issues in extending the rehabilitation package to cadres of the ANVC (B).
MHA joint secretary Satyendra Garg also claimed that a lot of progress has been made in the implementation of the agreement.for all projects that was the outcome of the agreement," former ANVC (B) chairman Bernard Rimpu N. Marak said. He said a medical college, child and maternity hospital and a bridge over the Brahmaputra were a few projects included in the agreement.
"The development that flows to the state and Garo Hills Autonomous District Council are an outcome of the agreed text but we are not part of any event," Marak alleged. He termed the rehabilitation of ANVC (B) cadres a "total joke".
Stating the government has made mockery of the agreed text, Marak said, "Fearing queries, they (government) did not even hold meetings with us to review the progress of the agreement. It is going to be three years after signing the agreement but the implementation of the agreed text is a failure to us and our people. Burning the agreement is what we have in mind now. The 139 ANVC (B) cadres eligible for availing the package is unknown to us because official communication was never sent to us. Moreover, we have jointly resolved to wait till our proposed list of 210 cadres is accepted," he said.
Arguing that the delay in providing packages to the ANVC (B) cadres was an attempt to demoralise them and create division, Marak said, "We waited for so long and will continue to do so till September 24. After that, if there is no development, the agreement will be burnt publicly as it has failed our expectations and disappointed the anticipation of our people."
"The state played with us by delaying and dishonouring the agreement. It did not form the state-level committee, including us, to avoid signatories while implementing the agreed text," he alleged.
Marak alleged that the Congress-led government in the state was attempting to "disgrace" the agreed text as it was initiated by the BJP-led government at the Centre.
"The government intentionally violates the tribal rights by intruding into tribal land and administration, which the agreement aimed to protect and strengthen. The land violation continues in a'king land of Garo Hills, downplaying the role of the nokma and the traditional administration system in Garo hills. Recently, the government tried to snatch a'king land for expansion of the medical facility in Tura without acquisition," he alleged.