TURA, Nov 7 - The Assam Meghalaya Peace Forum (AMPF) welcomed the High Court order seeking the Centre to consider the use of the armed forces in the region here. The AMPF, which operates along the Assam-Meghalaya border areas of Garo Hills, backed the order hoping it would help bring an end to the problems plaguing the region.
The forum met around 8,000 people from both sides of the border and urged them to come together showing their support for implementation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) in Garo Hills. According to a survey report released by the forum, at least 600 people from neighbouring Assam were abducted by militants in Garo Hills. They also claimed that over 10,000 people were served with extortion demands.
�Our organisation demands implementation of AFSPA as early as possible,� said Moniruzzama Moni, chief convenor of AMPF. The forum had staged several protests over the spate of kidnappings of mostly residents of Assam. This year alone, eight people from neighbouring Mankachar area have been killed by different rebel groups and over 20 people abducted for ransom.
�It is an alarming situation. The rebel groups have disturbed the peaceful atmosphere along the Assam-Meghalaya border villages of Garo Hills. It needs urgent attention, so that the situation can be neutralized and people can live in peace and harmony,� he added.
�We feel that army can work in a systematic approach and resolve the militancy situation in Garo Hills,� he added.
The AMPF activist said that they have raised their concerns against the ongoing spell of abduction and killing in Guwahati to draw the attention of the Government. The organisation has also taken up the matter with Assam Government official sending representations to the centre seeking early solution to insurgency problem in Garo Hills.
Meanwhile, a total of 16 members of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) have written to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju expressing concern over the decision of the Meghalaya High Court to direct the Centre to impose AFSPA in Garo Hills.
�We have always felt that one of the major causes of insurgency, in any region, has been socio economic conditions that prevail in the area and strongly feel that military action is not a viable solution,� the members told Rijiju in their letter. The members sought a multi pronged approach towards development and employment opportunities for youths to ensure an end to militancy in the region pointing out that imposition of AFSPA has led to instance of human rights violation and the situation has gone from bad to worse.
�There have been many organisations, political parties and leaders who have been raising their voice against the imposition of AFSPA in many States and the concerns and voices are only getting louder,� they wrote.