GNLA’s indefinite bandh call crosses 30-day mark
AMPATI: On March 9 the banned Garo outfit GNLA had called for a dawn-to-dusk all Garo Hills bandh demanding action against police personnel involved in the killing of a Nokma’s son at Oragitok village of Rongram block in West Garo Hills.
While the bandh ended on a somewhat peaceful note, barring the firing incident close to a missionary school in Tikrikilla area, it wasn’t the same for the residents of Ampati constituency represented by none other than Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
The GNLA announced that there would be no ‘let-up’ of their bandh for Ampati constituency represented by their ‘bête noire’ politician Mukul Sangma.
Today, a little over a month has passed since the militants’ diktat was forced upon the people of Ampati but life goes on.
“We have gone through the worst patch of our lives. But we survived. And we will continue to do so,” is the resilience in the voice of the common man when confronted by this scribe on a dry and humid Sunday afternoon at Ampati market.
The militant outfit’s closure call had forced the public to stay indoors for five working days of each week. The two-day window of opportunity was limited to just Saturday and Sunday.
Choices were limited – attend church service on Sunday or spend time at the Ampati market buying last-minute items before the next phase of the weekly bandh.
Many survived juggling both. It gave them an opportunity to spend time with the Almighty and look back on their struggle strengthening their resolve further.
Today, the common man has overcome his plight.
There is less of fear and more of the power of endurance for these common people who stood with their backs to the wall fighting a lonely battle with little or no support from elsewhere.
There is no doubt frustration and anger at their political masters for allowing this ordeal to drag on for so long, but many have preferred to fight the battle in silence.
“Nobody came to our rescue, but then we didn’t expect any, particularly from the political front. We stood alone. We have weathered the storm,” said a local villager from Ampati who requested anonymity while speaking to The Shillong Times at the market.
This Sunday was also a day of jubilation for the faithful. A new church for the faithful had just been inaugurated at Chiringpara village, on the outskirts of Ampati.
Old and young flocked to the religious place of worship, some to pray for an end to the ordeal and others to share their thoughts with fellow locals about the prevailing situation created for no fault of theirs.
They know that their sufferings are unlikely to end soon. All they can do is pray and hope that this cloud of despair is blown away soon.