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Church-NGOs meet Sangma on GNLA talks offer

By Biplab Kr Dey

TURA, Feb 28 - The peace committee which had welcomed the move of both the Meghalaya Government and the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) to hold discussions, met Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma recently seeking speeding up of talks with the militant outfit.

The peace committee comprising the GHSMC, GSU-interim, AAYF, ASWA, PGSU, TGCSU, CPU, GGU, Mothers Union, Church leaders and senior citizens of Garo Hills, called on the Chief Minister with an appeal to take a serious note on the GNLA peace talk offer. They also submitted a memorandum to the CM.

Among the peace committee members that met the CM, were Dr Milton S Sangma, former pro-Vice Chancellor of NEHU, Rev Fithing D Sangma, pastor of Hawakhana Baptist Church. The forum held an hour-long meeting with the CM who assured that the Government was serious with regard to the peace talk with GNLA provided they gave up all criminal activities.

�We urged the CM to forget all the criminal activities of GNLA in the past and to be very serious on peace talk with GNLA in the larger interest of the people of Garo Hills�, said Nikman Ch Marak, a member of the forum.

�The memorandum submitted to the CM stated, �we warmly welcome the offer of talks by the GNLA and unanimously decided to appeal to you to kindly take up the matter seriously and at the earliest so that peace may return to the Garo Hills.�

�This is a golden opportunity and should not be missed. If we do not take this offer for talks seriously and immediately, we may miss the bus and Garo Hills may be plunged once again into acts of violence, threats, kidnappings, abductions, extortions and all kinds of criminal activities�, added the memorandum.

�We appeal to you once again to respond favourably to the offer of peace talk by the GNLA and initiate the process for the talk by appointing an Interlocutor to start the dialogue as early as possible so that peace settlements with all other militant groups can be completed within the six month time frame as fixed by the Peace Committee earlier�, added a release.

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