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Garo Hills on the road to perdition

Editor,

The statement by ULFA(I) leader, Paresh Baruah recently that the HNLC and GNLA are also joining the conglomerate of rebel outfits calling the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia and stationed in the unguarded territory between Myanmar and India is worrying. What is more worrying is that the GNLA and other outfits of Garo Hills seem to be able to kidnap and kill whoever they want to and on whatever pretext they choose to do so. The GNLA’s statement that Government should call off its all operations against all militant outfits is outrageous. Does the GNLA believe it can have a free run of the land and that Government will retreat only because of the threat by the GNLA? As it is people of Garo Hills and particularly those residing in the villages are caught between the devil and the deep sea. When the militants come to their homes they have to offer basic hospitality or are roughed up. When the miltants have left the home, the police come after the villagers for offering shelter to them. Then again militants have killed and tortured several people accusing them of being police informers. Is this the way to live? People have lost all hope of deliverance.

Can we say that the State Police have failed to contain militancy? Is there a lacuna somewhere in the counter-insurgency operations which gives the militants an upper hand all the time, allowing them to kidnap anyone they like? If this is so then the Government should take a serious call about reviewing its strategy on how to tackle the Garo Hills militants. The most sensible thing to do is to cut off the militants’ source of income. But somehow the Government seems to be pussy-footing on this. The greater regret is that even the Central Government does not really care about what happens in an obscure part of the region. If militants continue to be one-up on the state forces then this is the biggest failure ever since the state has all the resources at its command and can act overtly while militants do everything covertly including that of extorting money to buy arms.

It is high time that the State Police start delivering because if things continue the way they are now, Garo Hills is on the way to perdition.

Yours etc.,

AR Marak,

Tura      

Complicated and costly scholarship application 

Editor, 

Last year the Meghalaya online scholarship portal was launched and with much difficulty, after investing much time and money students were able to upload their applications. But till date, many students have not received their stipends. This year we are told that students have to apply for their scholarship via the newly set up national portal. This has created more confusion and hardship. Many institutions are not able to register themselves in the national portal because of complicated procedure. There is a help line but what the person says can’t be understood. In the portal, names and numbers of nodal officers are given but they all plead ignorance of the whole process. Even the National Information Centres (NICs) in different districts cannot help with the registration procedure of the educational institutions. Many institutions are shown as approved in the portal but students are not able to log in and upload their applications. The last date for uploading of application forms has been extended to October 31, but I am sure thousands of students will be left stranded.

One wonders as to what is the benefit of the on line application. It is more complicated, more costly and more time consuming. The earlier simple system wherein a student fills in a hard copy with no cost was much better.

Yours etc.,

Albert Thyrniang

Tura, West Garo Hills

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