Army incursion withdrawal sought

Rally seeks action against ‘guilty’ Army men within 15 days

People take part at protest rally against killing of two innocent people by army at Kharkuta of
North Garo Hills on Tuesday. (UB)

TURA: Several Garo Hills-based pressure groups and citizens from North Garo Hills have demanded action against those army men who were involved in the killing of two unarmed civilians at Kharkutta area on November 25 within 15 days.
They have also withdrawal of the 20 km inter-state border incursion permitted to the army from neighbouring Assam into Garo Hills.
A public rally at Kharkutta town attended by over 3000 people comprising mostly of the women folk, the elderly and youth on Tuesday raised condemnation against the brutal killing of two citizens from Rajasimla last week while they were passing through an army check point at Konchikol ward on that fateful night.
In a first of its kind in the region, school students were left confined to their respective educational institutions while it was the womenfolk and the elders who came out in large numbers to attend the rally and raise their voice against the army atrocity.
Speaking on behalf of the several student and social organizations attending the rally, GSU’s Dadenggre unit chief Rupa Marak questioned the district administration’s decision to constitute a magisterial inquiry into the killings when it should actually be taking action against those involved in the murder of two innocent civilians.
“We don’t oppose the magisterial inquiry but the army has already admitted to the killing of the two civilians. Isn’t it time for action against the guilty?” questioned the GSU leader.
“The guilty must be arrested within 15 days,” demanded the GSU leader.
The organizations also demanded that the government must pay compensation to the tune of Rs 10 lakh each to both the victims’ families.
A memorandum to this effect  will be submitted to Chief Minister Mukul Sangma by the Garo Hills-based pressure groups through North Garo Hills deputy commissioner Sibhi Sadhu on Wednesday.
The GSU was highly critical of the army incursion of 20 kms inside the Garo Hills border which led to the killing of the two civilians, Rajasimla school teacher Alphius M Momin and his friend Sweetbirth D Marak.
“The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is already operational 20 kms inside Garo Hills and that is the reason why the army personnel were able to conduct operations leading to the death of the civilians. The permission to enter 20 kms inside the Garo Hills has to be scrapped,” he said.
Local MLA and parliamentary secretary Cherak W Momin along with GHADC MDC Smith Momin also addressed the gathering.
GHSMC demands: Meanwhile,  The GHSMC, a conglomerate  of  several pressure groups including the GSU, ASWA, TGCSU, AAYF and AGPF, has demanded action against army personnel who were involved in the killing the  two civilians.
In its letter to Union Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, the GHSMC sought an impartial inquiry into the incident.