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Garo Hills paralysed in protest of MBOSE amendment bill

Written by: Staff
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Shillong, Mar 25 (UNI) Life in three districts of Garo Hills in Meghalaya today paralysed in protest against passing of Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBOSE) Amendment Bill 2005 in the state Assembly.

The protest by the Garo Students' (GSU) Union targetted government offices to vent their opposition against the controversial bill that had rocked the Garo hills from the last 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. However, short circuit as another cause of fire has also not been ruled out.

The GSU's 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 (KSU) 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 again.

On September 30 last year, police firing to disperse agitating crowd at Tura and Williamnagar left nine people 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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