Garoland demand raised at Tura rally

The residents of Garo hills converged here on Wednesday for a rally taken out by the Garo Hills State Movement Committee to demand of "Garoland". The demand comes as Meghalaya is preparing for Assembly polls next year.

By Saidul Khan
  • Published 16.11.17
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Activists take out the rally in Tura on Wednesday. Picture by Saidul Khan

Tura: The residents of Garo hills converged here on Wednesday for a rally taken out by the Garo Hills State Movement Committee to demand of "Garoland". The demand comes as Meghalaya is preparing for Assembly polls next year.

The rally began from Chandmari playground, passed through Tura Bazar and ended at Law College playground in New Tura. The rallyists shouted slogans like A'ching a'song tangbangchina (long live Garoland) and displayed placards reading Jaago Modi jaago (wake up Modi) and "We want Garoland. No state, No rest!"

The protesters said Garo freedom fighter Sonaram R. Sangma had demanded a separate Garoland during the British era and the Garo National Council had taken it up in late 1960s under the leadership of former Meghalaya chief minister, late Captain Williamson A. Sangma.

The GNC took the centrestage in the rally with its leaders, Kalpana Marak, wife of former minister Late Clifford Marak and president of GNC, member of district council Jimberth Momin and former deputy chief executive member of district council Augustine Marak, urging the public to lend their support to the cause of "Garoland state".

"The GNC has been demanding Garoland since 1992. It has submitted a series of memoranda. The demand got support from many regional parties of the state, including the HSPSP and UDP, but due to lack of political willpower, the demand is yet to materialise," Augustine said.

He said the regional parties of Khasi-Jaintia Hills, like the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, United Democratic Party and People Democratic Front, had agreed to demand a separate state for Khasis and Jaintias and the GNC has decided to raise the issue of Garoland in the 2018 Assembly elections. "We are committed to the cause of our people," Augustine said. GHSMC chairman Nikman Marak said they had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

Nikman said the Centre had said the demand for a separate state had to be passed in the Assembly before it could be taken up in Parliament. "It is important that political parties come together and raise this issue," he added.

The committee, which has been spearheading the demand since 2012, held its 22nd rally on Wednesday. It said it would hold similar rallies in other parts of Garo hills.