GNLA to shun arms for ‘Garo state’

Cosmos Sangma, Tura (Aug 8): In a dramatic announcement to the ongoing militancy in Garo Hills, the banned Garo militant group GNLA has expressed its willingness to give up their armed struggle provided the Indian government accepts its demands for creation of a  separate Garo state within the Indian constitution.

The political secretary of the militant group, Bikdot Nikjang Marak, gave this announcement to media persons in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.

The surprise announcement comes in the back ground of last week’s alleged deportation and arrest of its founder chairman Champion R Sangma by Meghalaya police from a border village in East Khasi Hills.

“If the Indian government is ready to fulfill our demand for a separate Garo state within the Indian constitution under Article 3 we are ready to end all hostilities. W e are ready to say goodbye to armed struggle and h and over our weapons if t he government fulfills the demand of the several lakh Garos who are yearning for their own state,” announced the GNLA leader who also mentioned that he was speaking on behalf of the outfit’s army chief Sohan D Shira.

Giving government data on the formation of other north eastern states such as Nagaland in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh in 1987, the GNLA leader mentioned that there is nothing wrong in seeking a separate homeland for one’s tribe in the region. “We have never proposed a separate country from India. All we want is our own Garo state away from our Khasi brethren. Is it not justified?” questioned Bikdot Nikjang Marak.

Peace signal ahead of Independence Day

With less than a week left before the country celebrates its Independence Day on August 15, the banned GNLA outfit has sent feelers i t wishes no harm to the official function. The political secretary of GNLA, Bikdot Nikjang Marak while speaking to the Seven Sisters Post informed that his organization wishes the upcoming celebrations a peaceful and successful one.

“Just like we Garos, other communities who live in Garo Hills are a part and parcel of our great country. Our forefathers namely Gandhi, Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose, Sarder Patel, Sarojini Naidu, Bhagat Singh, Bim Rao Ambekar, Gopinath Bordoloi sacrificed themselves for the cause of the great nation and we (GNLA) salute our freedom fighters and wish a peaceful and successful celebration of our Independence Day,” announced the GNLA.

It is also worth mentioning that the militant outfit has so far desisted from announcing a bandh during t he R-Day and I-Day celebrations even though it has very close ties with Assam’s ULFA outfit which annually call for a shutdown during the official functions.

 

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