The United Garo Autonomous Council Movement Committee in Assam’s Goalpara district has threatened an armed struggle unless its demand for a Garo Autonomous Council (GAC) in Assam is not fulfilled soon.
In a press meet held at the office of the district journalists association, the Garo leaders on Monday alleged that the BJP government does not understand the language of a democratic protest.
“It has been 17 years that we have been demanding a Garo Autonomous Council for around seven lakh Garo people living in Assam. But we are receiving stepmotherly treatment since 1972 by successive Assam governments. Every government, from the Congress to the BJP, has given us only false promises. This includes BJP chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. This time, we have discussed with our people and decided that if the government apathy towards the Garos continues, we may opt for an armed struggle,” said Alex K. Sangma, the chairman of the United Garo Autonomous Council Movement Committee, in the presence of other office bearers.
“The Garos are one of the major tribes of Assam with a relatively higher population than the recently created autonomous councils like Kamtapur and Moran-Motok. Though the declaration of autonomous councils for Kamtapur and Moran-Motok has paved the way for the creation of an autonomous council for the Garos, the government seems reluctant to do justice to our people,” he added.
The committee has also called a 48-hour Assam bandh from 5am on Tuesday.
“If the Assam government is not responsive after 96 hours of the bandh, we will be compelled to call an indefinite economic blockade,” Sangma added. “The first government survey on the basis of language in the Brahmaputra Valley proved that there are 70,20,53 Garos there. If the survey includes Barak Valley, it will cross 10 lakh people,” said Thengsil Sangma, the secretary of the organisation.
The bandh call in Assam is likely to affect National Highway 17 from Naranarayan Setu of Goalpara to the Boko of Kamrup district.
It is more likely to impact the transport sector from Dudhnoi and Krishnai to Meghalaya.