ANVC pact in two months
SHILLONG: The peace pact with the militant outfit ANVC, its breakaway faction (ANVC-B), the State and the Union Government is likely to be drawn to a close in another two months.
Speaking to media persons after the tripartite meeting with the ANVC and its breakaway faction, the State and Central Government officials, ANVC-B Chairman Rimpu Marak said, “We don’t know when it is going to be finalized but it is going to happen soon, maybe another two months”.
ANVC Publicity Secretary Arist Sengsrang N. Sangma also said that the pact would be tabled in the upcoming Parliament session.
Meanwhile, Chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma said that peace accord with ANVC would be signed at the earliest.
“At the present pace and with the coming forward of other groups and splinter groups, final and lasting peace will shortly be ushered in the Garo Hills,” Dr Sangma said while welcoming the outcome of Thursday’s tripartite meeting on peace pact.
The Chief Minister said that certain modalities such as detailing the number of cadres and tabling an inventory of arms and ammunition must be completed for the process to move on.
It may be mentioned that the pact after going through various line departments is awaiting the nod of the Union Cabinet.
The draft peace pact was signed last year.
“We have signed the pact under the ambit of one platform, one agreement, one settlement,” he said adding that the faction as well as the parent group would work together.
According to Rimpu Marak, the situation in Garo Hills will not deteriorate even as he assured that the state of affairs would improve in Garo Hills which is bearing the brunt of militancy for the last many years.
The tripartite meeting held on Thursday discussed on the upcoming peace settlement besides other issues.
Reacting to a query, Marak said several issues including raising of the District Council seats to 40 and prevailing Garo Hills situation.
“My organization and ANVC will work together to bring peace in Garo Hills and to see that the peace-settlement will benefit each and every individual of Garo Hills,” Marak told reporters.
When asked how the ANVC-B can become the signatory of the pact which was meant for the parent group, Marak said that the ANVC-B is not a banned organization and that he has come forward on the invitation of the Chief Minister, putting forward their own demands.
“Though we have not signed the ceasefire agreement, but we have been clubbed together with the existing ceasefire agreement of the ANVC,” he added.
Asked about the ongoing tussle between ANVC and the ANVC-B, Rimpu said that there are some issues and that the two outfits are not working on the same frequency.
Admitting that sometimes problems arise from the level of low ranking cadres, he pointed out that there is a point of contact where both outfits will clarify if there is any kind of misunderstanding between the two groups.
However, the outfit leader made it abundantly clear that ANVC-B would not be merged with ANVC but that all problems can be sorted out mutually.
He stated that ANVC-B has around 130 cadres at the moment.
The militant chief also asserted that the depositing of arms would be done according to the procedure of the pact.
When asked if the outfit sees this settlement as becoming a reality when Garo Hills already has an autonomous District Council, he added that it will depend as Garo Hills is lagging behind due to shortage of funds.
“We need to streamline the funding, streamline the activities of the GHADC and its working strategy and things will work out as it is happening now,” he stated
On the growing number of militant outfits in Garo Hills, he said that the deprivation of opportunities is the reason even as he stressed on the need to create more job-oriented opportunities for youths saying, ” if we do not rehabilitate then not only the cadres of the underground organizations but also regular youths will turn into militants”.