Parries talks offer of ultras issue
SHILLONG: Addressing the opening day of the Budget session of the Meghalaya assembly on Friday, Governor Dr. K.K. Paul expressed concern about the activities of GNLA in the Garo Hills, but parried questions on the proposal of the GNLA to hold talks with the government.
While leaving the Assembly after the address, the Governor was asked by a reporter on the offer of GNLA on talks. But he got into his car and left.
It was based on the appeal of the Governor made during the Republic Day function this year that the GNLA had expressed its readiness to come for talks. The self-styled commander-in-chief of GNLA Sohan Shira had lately urged the Governor to appoint the United Christian Peace Forum and Shillong-based lawyer Sujit Dey as negotiators for peace talks.
Shira had said that they wanted the Governor to appoint the negotiators and added they were committed to hold peace talks after the Governor had made his appeal to GNLA to come to the negotiating table. The GNLA chief wanted the Governor to treat the statement of the outfit requesting him to appoint negotiators as official.
Addressing the Assembly session, the Governor said that the state police along with the Central Reserve Police Force did a commendable job in containing the activities of various militant outfits. ” However, the increased activities of GNLA and its growing influence in Garo Hills and parts of West Khasi Hills is a matter of serious concern”, he added.
According to the Governor, the activities of HNLC had seen a decline during the past one year because of the constant pressure mounted by the state police. Their movement and activities were confined to certain areas along the Indo-Bangla border. During 2013, as many as 108 militants were arrested and 19 militants had surrendered and large quantities of arms and ammunition were also seized, he said.
Dr. Paul said that Government had been making concerted efforts to end the hardship of the common people and restore peace and normality in the Garo Hills. The settlement with ANVC has reached the final stages of approval by the Central Government. “The State Government is keen on getting this done before the elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council”, he said.
The Governor, however, emphasized that ensuring peace, order and safety of common
citizens was the first and foremost duty of the administration. “Therefore, the police forces will be firm in dealing with the elements that indulge in unlawful activities. The government will continue to engage in a sustained dialogue with the agitating groups in order to find solutions to such problems”, he added.