Saturday, March 2, 2024

Garo Hills in trauma


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The unrelenting GNLA is hell bent on punishing the people of Garo Hills. Imagine a five-day bandh where life comes to a complete halt! Is this justified? Does the GNLA want to starve people to death? Those from Garo Hills who are connected to the world through Facebook have been communicating their exasperation. Only the elected representatives have remained very silent! The GNLA is trying to spite the Government for putting a price on its military chief Sohan Shira’s head. Also for the outright war announced by the police against the outfit! For an outfit devoid of any ideology this repressive act of holding people at gun point for five whole days is outrageous and unpardonable. What does the GNLA promise to deliver the people from? The outfit’s actions speak for themselves. They kill and maim, extort and kidnap for ransom. In short, they mercenaries who have to be dealt with equal ruthlessness. By lending them the label of an insurgent outfit we are only giving the GNLA a respectability they do not deserve. An insurgency is an internal revolt by a rebel group to fight state repression. Insurgents have a clear ideology and are usually disciplined. They constantly communicate with the people because they draw sustenance from them. They do not kill at random. If at all they inflict injury, it is on state actors. The GNLA on the other hand are a trigger happy lot who have eliminated ordinary people.

What’s intriguing at this point is the complete silence of the elected representatives. Whose side are they on? The militants or the people? Should the elected who call themselves ‘leaders’ not provide leadership at this crucial juncture? Should they not mobilize the public to speak up? Why should the onus be only on NGOs and civil society members? If MLAs/MDCs cower in fear and fail to break the bandh they should all be thrown out in the next elections. Allowing people to be held to ransom by a gun-toting group is not leadership. The people of Garo Hills should choose their leaders wisely in the future.



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