TURA, Nov 24 - Angered at the growing instances of abductions in Garo Hills region, a 15,000 strong crowd today rallied against militancy and the Achik National Liberation Army (ANLA) for kidnapping two persons from Kharkutta village in North Garo Hills today.
The protesters sought immediate and unconditional release of the two labourers, Shahujdin Sheikh (35) and Soleman Ali (42). The two were working as labourers in a firm that is working on a PMGSY road bear the village when they were abducted.
The protesters gave an ultimatum of two days to the ANLA for the release of the two labourers, failing which the people of the region would start operations against outfit.
�This is a show of anger at what militancy has done to the region. We absolutely condemn the kidnapping of the two labourers and want them to be released immediately. How much will we bear the brunt of these acts that are making a mockery on normal life,� said one of the protesters at the rally.
The protest was led by NGOs of North Garo Hills, including the GSU, FKJGP, ADE, FAF, AAYF among others and included villagers from across the district.
�We have come to the protest rally as we all want peace within the region and for that acts like abduction, extortions and killings have to stop,� said another resident of the region who took part in the protest.
�While on the one hand the government and the people of Garo Hills have been protesting against the imposition of AFSPA within the region, these irresponsible acts are making the case strong for imposition of the dreaded AFSPA. If AFSPA is imposed in the region, these people will have to take the responsibility for it,� said local MLA of Kharkutta, Chreak W Momin.
Meanwhile, Wilness Marak, assistant general secretary of GSU, North Zone said, �If they are really working for the Garo people and we, the Garo people want peace, then why are they not listening to us and stopping these acts. We have been rallying and protesting against the imposition of AFSPA and these people are trying to do just the opposite.�
�We want peace in Garo Hills at any cost. We demand the immediate release of the two labourers and want them to stop these activities, which they are doing for their personal benefit in the guise of a demand for Garoland,� added Wilness.