Ensure safety of Garos in Bangladesh: Sawkmie

SHILLONG, March 10: Opposition Chief Whip, PT Sawkmie on Wednesday expressed concern over eviction of 7,000 Garo settlers in Bangladesh and sought the intervention of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to ensure that they live peacefully in that country.
The Congress MLA also tabled a zero hour notice in the Assembly today based on a report in The Shillong Times.
Terming the matter as serious, Sawkmie said besides 7,000 Garo people, around 10,000 Mro people will also be evicted from their ancestral land. He said it was the duty of the state legislators to take up the issue.
“India has a good relationship with Bangladesh and with the intervention of the CM we will have to ensure that they live peacefully in that country,” he said.
The Mawlai legislator also reminded the CM that the Garoland State Movement Committee (GSMC) had also written to him requesting his intervention to raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union External Affairs Minister.
Sawkmie said that it was not just people from Garo Hills who are protesting but also Garos living in other countries have expressed their concerns.
Meanwhile, the CM in his reply said that the situation is occurring in a neighboring country and is beyond the jurisdiction of the state government.
“We can only keep a close watch on the situation and ensure there are no disturbances in the Garo Hills region”, he said adding that the situation needs to be dealt with in a diplomatic way through the Centre.
It may be mentioned that the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) had requested all the chief ministers of the Northeastern states to urge Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to flag the issue of forcible eviction of about 7,000 Garos and 10,000 Mro people and implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord with the Government of Bangladesh during his upcoming visit to Dhaka on March 4.
The RRAG maintained that unless these issues are raised, there are strong possibilities that the Garos being displaced from Madhupur forest in Tangail district may be gradually forced to flee to Meghalaya while indigenous Mro people of Bandarban district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts may flee to Mizoram and/or assimilate into mainstream Islamic society in Bangladesh.

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