Traders’ rescue: Demand for AFSPA in GH

TURA: The Assam-Meghalaya Peace Forum has urged Meghalaya police to double their efforts to rescue the eight traders who are still in the custody of Garo rebels belonging to the ASAK outfit even as it demanded the implementation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Garo Hills.
Moniruz Zaman Moni, chief convener of the forum that is headquartered in Haat Singimari town of South Salmara, met West Garo Hills SP Mukesh Singh in Tura on Saturday. “We conveyed our demands to the Meghalaya police in a meeting with the Tura SP to ensure that all steps are taken for the rescue of the traders,” Moni told The Shillong Times.
A delegation of the forum had accompanied South Salmara  Additional SP Dhrubajyoti Bora and an army team to Tura to bring back 50-year-old Saher Ali, one of the nine abducted traders, who managed to escape on Friday morning from the militants in remote Chokpot region of South Garo Hills.
The ASAK outfit is reportedly demanding Rs 20 lakh for the release of the eight Assam traders who belong to Mankachar town of Dhubri district. The peace forum is also seeking imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the troubled region to contain the rising crime and abduction.
“The common man on both sides of the inter-state border is suffering because of kidnaps and murders. These crimes need to be stopped and AFSPA must be imposed,” said Moni.
The forum is also asking Meghalaya Government to provide compensation to the families whose loved ones have been killed by both criminals and militants alike.
On the reasons for traders still going into militant-affected areas, Moni said, “It is because of their economic condition that they are compelled to visit sensitive places to make a living by selling their goods and earn some money for their families.”

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