TURA, Nov 16 - The people of Tura once again held a public meeting and carried out procession protesting against the Meghalaya High Court�s directive seeking imposition of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Garo Hills.
While the meeting was held at the Chandmari playground, the rally by senior citizens and NGOs moved through the town before ending near the office of the DC, WGH. The protest rally was spearheaded by several civil organisations including the Garo Students� Union (Interim body), ASWA, AAYF as well as the Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC).
Interestingly to show solidarity with the protestors, most shops across the town shut down during the duration of the rally.
At least 1,000 people gathered to show their resentment against the AFSPA and rallied through the streets of Tura town demanding for peace and harmony.
Placards displaying �Stop killing of innocent people�, �We need peace in Garo Hills�, �We don�t want imposition of AFSPA in Garo Hills�, were held up by supporters to show their intent in bringing peace.
The rally comprised mostly students, traders and members of civil organisations from Tura and its neighbouring villages.
The activists vented their anger against the directive of the HC asserting that they would not tolerate militarization of Garo Hills. The gathering appreciated Union minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju�s remark on the AFSPA not bringing any solution to Garo Hills.
The public meeting decided to hold protests across Garo Hills on November 18, the date of next hearing in the case.
According to the activists, the imposition of AFSPA in the region will only victimise innocent civilians without making much headway in taking care of the militancy issue.
�Insurgency is an issue in Garo Hills, but army is not a solution,� said noted educationist Milton Sangma while urging people to come out in large number to show their displeasure against the �draconian� act.
GSU activist Walseng A Sangma said, �Army has already entered Garo Hills along the Assam-Meghalaya border. There highhandedness is evident. If we do not express our opposition they will enter Garo Hills�.
He further appealed to all outfits to come out and hold talks and negotiation with the government. �We also appeal centre and State Government to listen to the demands of the outfits and talk to them.� he added.
The president of Senior Citizens� Forum Windstone G Momin said, �Our government is capable of taking decisions in the best interest of the people.
We have elected representative to take decisions. It is shocking that the HC has suggested imposition of AFSPA in Garo Hills.�