TURA, Sept 10 � Residents of Kharkutta and neighbouring villages of Assam and Meghalaya yesterday staged a rally against the growing militancy. The rallyists asked for �brothers to return home and live in peace.�
Over 8,000 people including children, women and men gathered in the Mini Stadium of Kharkutta to show their intent to bring peace back to the region. The people came from Chotcholja, Rajasimla, Chibongga and other villages for the rally organised by Kharkutta United NGOs� Peace Forum.
The rally condemned the killings, kidnappings, bomb blasts and extortion which they said had become a norm in the region. �We condemn these acts of violence specially the ones against women and children. The brutal killings of Jospina Sangma, the kidnapping of Sandia Sangma are all acts that deserve the strongest condemnations. Added to this is the kidnapping of minor children. These acts have to stop�, said JN Marak, leader of the Forum and the Mother�s Union.
Urging the militants to shun violence, Marak asked them to come back home for peace to prevail while also asking the State Government to take a serious note of the issue.
Calling the kidnapping of the SBI officials and the murder of the petrol pump attendant as cowardly, Constantine D Marak said, �When Sonaram R Sangma fought the British he did so with the weapons of law. Similarly, when Capt WA Sangma fought with the Central Government he too fought with non-violence. Let us follow our ancestors� footsteps and stop militant movement�, he added.
�Kidnapping of small school children is a violation of the International Law of Child Protection. The traders from Daranggiri, Dudhnoi, Dhupdhara of our neighbouring State can�t enter Garo Hills due to the threat of kidnapping. The time for the youth is for study but the number of dropouts is a sign of weakness we are facing and need to overcome�, said PT Sangma, a senior citizen. The Church added their prayers for peace with Father Anbu Anthony, Reverend James D Marak and Pastor Whiteland R Marak joining the rally. Quoting from the Bible, the Chruch leaders said that it is the sin that is to be condemned and not the sinner and asked all militants to repent and come back home.
Blister Momin said, �They should come back. They are killing their own brothers and sisters and yet claim to love Garos. The development of Garo Hills has been hit due to demands and extortions from contractors and businessmen, yet they claim to love Garo Hills�, he added bitterly.