|Imposition of AFSPA in Garo Hills demanded|
Biplab Kr Dey
TURA, Oct 2 - The Assam-Meghalaya Peace Forum (AMPF) has once again raised the demand for imposition of AFSPA in the Garo Hills region following the kidnapping of nine traders from near Silkigre in South Garo Hills district.
It further called upon the security forces in Garo Hills to increase efforts to rescue the eight kidnapped traders who still continue to be in custody of alleged ASAK rebels.
AMPF convenor, Moniruz Zaman Moni, met West Garo Hills SP Mukesh Singh in Tura on Saturday to put forward the demands of the residents of South Salmara district in Assam.
The delegation was accompanied by South Salmara Additional SP Dhrubajyoti Bora and an Army team, who had come to Tura to bring back 50 year-old Saher Ali, one of the nine abducted traders who managed to escape on Friday morning.
The outfit has reportedly sought Rs 20 lakh for the release of the traders.
The AMPF sought the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the region to contain crimes and abductions.
“It is the comman man from both sides that are suffering from kidnappings and murders. These crimes need to be stopped and AFSPA must be imposed,” stated Moni while also seeking compensation for those killed in Meghalaya by militants or criminals.
Traders kidnapped:Meanwhile, the Deputy CEM of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), Augustine Marak today sought the safe release of the eight traders kidnapped from Silkigre village three days ago by suspected ASAK militants.
While one of those kidnapped was able to escape and reach the safety of Silkigre BSF camp yesterday, the fate of the rest eight is yet to be known. Police operations in the area have been intensified for their rescue.
“I strongly condemn the kidnapping of the Assam traders from the weekly market. This particular incident has created a huge fear psychosis in the area and damaged the weekly market,” said Augustine.
He hit out at the government for not listening to the call for setting up an anti-dacoity camp (ADC) in the village to ward off untoward incidents. “It has been almost a year and I have kept writing and talking with the Home Department to set up an ADC at Silkigre but the department is delaying it,” said the MDC.