Assam-Meghalaya Peace Forum in Meghalaya expresses support for Armed Forces in Garo Hills

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Tura, November 8: The Assam-Meghalaya Peace Forum (AMPF), which operates along the Assam-Meghalaya border areas of Garo hills on Saturday welcomed the Meghalaya High Court's order directing the centre to consider imposition of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Garo hills. The support for the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is the first of its kind within the region with almost the entire Garo Hills coming out strongly against the High Court order.To press the demand for AFSPA, the organization on Saturday showed its strength with over 8000 people from both sides of the border coming together to show its support for implementation of ASPA in Garo hills. The organization released a survey report, which states that in the past five years, at least 600 people from neighbouring Assam district were abducted by militants in Garo hills. They also claimed that over 10,000 people were served with extortion demand.

“Our organization demand implementation of AFSPA as early as possible”, said Moniruzzama Moni, chief convenor of AMPF. The organisation had staged several protests in the plain belt area of West Garo hills and at Mancachar area in Assam’s Dhubri district over the past several months over rampant abduction of people from bordering areas, news agency Oh Meghalaya reported.

This year alone, eight people from neighbouring Mancachar area has been killed by different rebel groups and over 20 people abducted for ransom. “It is an alarming situation. The rebel groups have disturbed the peaceful atmosphere along the Assam-Meghalaya border villages of Garo hills. It needs an urgent attention, so that the situation can be neutralized and people can live in peace and harmony”, Moni added.

People from neighbouring areas of Assam frequents Garo hills for trade and other business engagements. “We feel that army can work in a systematic approach and resolve the militancy situation in Garo hills”, the activist said.

The AMEF activist informed that they have raised their concern against the ongoing spell on abduction and killing in Assam capital to draw the attention of the government. The organisation has also taken up the matter with Assam government official and has send representation to the centre seeking early solution to insurgency problem in Garo hills

Most Garo hills based civil bodies have raised their opposition against AFSPA and have urged militants to shun violence and follow the path of peace and negotiation. Several organisations has begun their campaign to show their resentment against the high court order seeking centre intervention of army rule in Garo hills. The Garo Students Union and other civil bodies feel that army rule will harm the people, as they will use “excess power.”

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