Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Unjustified bandh call

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Editor,

The bandh called by the break-away faction of the ANVC on 20th December seems imminent unless there is a last minute change of heart on the part of the leadership of the above organization. The think tank of the ANVC (B) is still firm and adamant on imposing the total shut down despite the fact the date for the bandh is very close to Christmas. The last thing that the predominantly Christian inhabitants of Garo Hills want during these days of hectic preparations for the feast they love to celebrate is a bandh.

Off the record people are upset that just three days before the great festival of Christmas a bandh is called. Privately many have expressed dismay and resentment at the ill-timed shutdown. The only civil society organization that has appealed for the bandh to be called off is the recently formed Movement for Peace and Harmony (MP&H) based in Shillong. We urgently need more NGOs and individuals to prevail upon the ANVC (B) to withdraw the bandh call so that the preparations for the most popular festival on earth can go on unhindered. The concerned organization must manifest a heart that is sensitive to the sentiments and needs of the people.

The reason for calling the bandh is reportedly to honour and remember the slain ‘Matgriks’ (warriors) who fought for the cause of Garoland/state. Without going into the merits or demerits of the case, honestly one finds it quite strange that we should honour our warriors with a bandh. Can we imagine a bandh on Pa Togan Sangma day? On this day people have to remain indoors. They are unable to observe the day. They are not able to organize a memorial service and participate in it. They are not allowed to place flowers and candles at the statue of the man who bravely fought the mighty British. Can we think of a situation like that? Will it ever happen that on a U Kiang Nongbah’s or U Tirot Singh’s day we have a bandh? Similarly, if there are other warriors who have fought for the people’s cause, would it not be better to organize, say a memorial service in selected public places where people could go and pay them homage and respect? Why a bandh? It is quite incomprehensible!

The Garo-Rabha ethnic clash of 2011 is still fresh in our minds. The reason for the terrible incident was attributed to the frequent bandhs called by our Rabha brethren before the Christmas season. The flow of people and goods from Guwahati – the gateway of the North East was adversely affected. It hampered the preparation and celebration of Christmas. The result was a clash that unnecessarily led to loss of precious lives and destruction of invaluable property. The bandhs in 2011 were unjustified. Can we justify a bandh around the same time this year?

It is imperative for the bandh be called off. Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus who brought peace, joy, prosperity and liberation meaningfully. Happy and merry Christmas to all!

Yours etc.,

Albert Thyrniang

Mendal,

North Garo Hills

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