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Garo Hills paralyed to protest amend Mbose bill

Written by: Staff

Shillong, Mar 25: Life in three districts of Garo Hills in Meghalaya paralysed today (Mar 25, 2006) in protest against passing of Meghalaya Board of School Education (Amendment) Bill, 2005, in the state assembly yesterday.

The protest sponsored by the Garo Students' Union targetted the government offices to vent opposition of the controversial bill that rocked the Garo hills for the past four months.

The bill was passed yesterday despite a strong protest by the NCP members from Garo hills who demanded another committee to review the issue. As Deputy Chief Minister Dr Donkupar moved the Bill, NCP leader Edmund K Sangma stood up and called for another committee to look into the matter for taking the ''opinion of sections of the society.'' The protestors' ire could be noticed as many government offices were damaged in Tura, district headquarters of West Garo hills, forcing the authorities to deploy additional force to ensure peace.

Police said, a group of unidentified miscreants last night torched the Directorate of Information and Public Relations office there at around 1230 hrs. The office was completely gutted, the sources said. Howerver, short circuit as another cause of fire has also not been ruled out.

The GSU's members picketing of all government offices including the MBOSE and the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council began today.

Tura's MP Purno A Sangma said the government's move was ''very unfortunate''. The voice of Garo Hills was ignored by the Congress government, he added.

The Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government did not bother to take Garo Hills' sentiments into account, he said adding ''We will not accept this.'' GSU president Andreas T Sangma reacted saying they were ''sad''.

The union accused all 24 MLAs from Garo Hills of failing to protect the interest of the Garos and warned of taking ''drastic action'' against the MLAs for their ''betrayal''.

Meanwhile, the Khasi Students' Union has termed the passing of the Bill as the victory of the students' community of the state.

''It is the victory of not only the Khasi and Jaintia students, but also the Garo students'', a senior KSU leader said.

Mr Sangma apprehended that with the passing of the Bill, which was not in favour of the Garo people, trouble might again erupt in the region.

On September 30 last year, police fired to disperse agitating crowd at Tura and williamnagar that left nine mostly students killed.

The agitators had defied prohibitory orders and gathered in large number in the two places of Garo Hills in an attempt to generate public opinion on the controversial MBOSE issue.


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