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Hope floats for peace after guns fall silent in GH

SHILLONG: After the mindless extortions, kidnappings and killings which the Garo Hills region witnessed throughout the year, the guns of security forces and the militants have fallen silent for more than a week thanks to the festive atmosphere.
A state government official admitted that there was an extortion spree and difficult times in the run upto the festivals in Garo Hills. Good times started just before Christmas.
Other parts of the state also witnessed peace as there were no violent incidents reported for the last ten days.
When contacted, Home Minister Roshan Warjri admitted that the state is going through a peaceful phase.
She also thanked the people and the faith based organizations, civil society members and individuals for their efforts in restoring peace in the state.
She said that police with the support of the public have worked together to maintain peace in Garo Hills and hoped that the same trend would continue.
“We pray for peace harmony in the days to come and let the same continue throughout the year”, Warjri said.
The Home Minister assured that the government will continue to work for the welfare of the people.
West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi pointed out the contrast between Khasi Hills and Garo Hills as the former is currently abuzz with a lot of activities compared to  the past.
According to Bakshi, during the days when HNLC was active, Khasi Hills resembled Garo Hills as there was law and order problems resulting in fear coupled with less flow of tourists  to Shillong.
“Look at the situation now in Khasi Hills and other towns. While in the past people were scared to come to Shillong, the present peaceful scenario with no insurgency has attracted large number of tourists even during winter”, Bakshi said.
Besides, after Nepal earthquake, there was boom in the flow of tourists to Shillong considering the peaceful situation. The trend for the last few years is that there is huge rush for New Year shows in Shillong too, he added.
However, Bakshi said that signs of change are visible at the fag end of year in Garo Hills.
The problem zones are momentary just like in Mizoram which witnessed peace compared to the trouble torn days in the past.
“As everyone  longs for  permanent  peace,  We hope  that it is definitely going to be a good sign and the signing of peace pact with UALA and surrenders of many cadres  will also motivate other groups to join the mainstream in the days to come”, he said.
A senior police official admitted that in November and December, 2015, there were a series of surrender of militants and signing of peace pact with a militant outfit besides arrests of members of splinter groups in Garo Hills and he hoped that if the same momentum continues, peace will be restored.

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