TURA, Nov 10 - A congregation of more than 15,000 protesters rallied today against the recent Meghalaya High Court order seeking Army intervention in Garo Hills, at Resubelpara in North Garo Hills, in view of the growing instances of militant activities.
Angered by the deafening silence of the public leaders, the rallyists burnt the effigies of Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma as well as his b�te noire, NPP leader PA Sangma.
The rallyists gathered at the Dekachang playground before moving through the town and back to the same venue. The rally was attended by all sections of society, including women, church elders and was organised by a conglomeration of NGOs.
�We are really unhappy with the silence of the leaders at this point of time when they should have been vocal about the imposition of AFSPA and the Army. Are they waiting for us and our children to be killed before they start talking? We have elected them to look after our welfare and is this how they are doing so�, asked Willness Marak, one of the organisers of the rally and the assistant general secretary of GSU-Northern Zone.
�The coming of the Army will mean a lot of hardship not to the militants, but to the common people of Garo Hills. Fake killings, harassment of women and even rapes will become common and there will be no stopping them under AFSPA. This is something that we cannot digest�, said Jagir Momin, the president of FAF, North Zone.
�We concede that the situation is bad, but not that bad that AFSPA has to be invoked. Our region has not even been tagged as disturbed. So the hurry to get AFSPA into Garo Hills cannot be condoned. We feel the Centre and the Meghalaya Government need to sit together to decide the way ahead. We don�t mind the Army coming, but it should not come with special powers like AFSPA�, added Alex K Sangma, the director of AIJIF.