|Ultra demand threatens to shut village shops|
TURA, April 26 – For the small village of Mangsang, about 40 kms from the district headquarter of Williamnagar, in East Garo Hills, survival itself is turning out to be a huge challenge.
The village, which lies in an area that have little connection to the rest of the world, militant threats has posed such a huge challenge that most of the shops within the market are set to shut down, after the owners of the shops were sent double demands by two outfits, at almost the same time.
The village has a total of about 20 shops, most of which are grocery and vegetable shops, along with two wine stores and a population of about 5000. None of the shops in the village have been spared of the demand notes.
According to reports available, the militant outfits of ANLA and ASAK have distributed demand letters to all the shop owners, asking them to pay amounts ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, or to be ready to face their wrath.
“Where are we to pay them from? We ourselves are struggling with survival. Until now we have been managing to eke out a living. Even if I sell my shop, I will not be able to pay the money demanded. I have no idea as to what I am supposed to do other than shut down and move elsewhere”, said a shop owner on the condition of anonymity.
The remoteness of the village along with the absolute lack of any telephone network has ensured that there are no complaints given to the police. The state of the police team’s resources is another matter altogether as information available states that the police outpost in Mangsang, does not even have a working police vehicle. Patrolling on foot is a dangerous option for the security forces.
The area is also a safe haven for most militant groups due to its remoteness as well as the lack of police personnel to check their movements.
“We would like to urge upon militant groups to not target the poor people of the village as we are already in very deep financial state. We will not be able to last with our families if we have to pay and we also have nowhere to go”, said another resident of the village.