Meghalaya CM against creation of separate states

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Shillong, Apr 17 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy has said he would not endorse the idea of dividing the state, even as two regional political parties have agreed to jointly fight for creation of two states for the Khasi-Pnar and Garo tribal communities.

''I am not in favour of dividing Meghalaya by bringing a resolution in the Assembly for separate states for tribal Garos and Khasi-Jaintias,'' the Chief Minister told reporters yesterday after leaders of the Garo National Council (GNC) submitted a memorandum to the state government demanding a separate state for the Garo.

A joint meeting of Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) and GNC held in Shillong on Monday resolved to work for the creation of separate states for the two communities to ensure faster development.

The HSPDP, with two MLAs in the 60-member House, an ally of the ruling United Democratic Party-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, have been demanding a separate state for the Khasi-Jaintia people since 1987 while the GNC placed their demand for the past 14 years.

The GNC, which contested the last Assembly election on the plank of a separate Garoland state failed to win any of the seats in the Garo Hills.

According to the two regional parties said, three districts in the Garo Hills region should constitute the separate Garo state, while four in Khasi Jaintia hills for the Khasi-Jaintia state.

''It's time the Khasi and Jaintia and the Garo people are separated in the interest of both communities. The people of Garo Hills are facing problems in terms of languages, customs, traditions and cultures with the Khasi- Jaintia people, despite English being the official language of the State,'' GNC president Clifford R Marak told UNI here today.

Mr Marak said public meetings would be organised in various places of Meghalaya to highlight before the public the need for separate states for Khasi-Jaintias and the Garos.

Meanwhile, both the regional parties reiterated their opposition to the proposed Greater Garoland demand of the outlawed A'chik National Volunteers Council, as both felt that the demand would affect the cordial relations between Khasi-Jaintia and Garo communities.

The banned ANVC, which is in a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the Meghalaya government and the Centre, has demanded Greater Garoland comprising the present three districts of Garo Hills, parts of West Khasi Hills district, Ri-Bhoi district and a large chunk of Kamrup and Goalpara districts of Assam.

''We cannot part with an inch of our land to the Garo,'' Mr Lyngdoh said.

Mr Lyngdoh said the joint meeting also appealed to all political parties, NGOs and citizens of the state to support their demand.

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