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Violence marks Garo Hills' protest against MBOSE Bill

Written by: Staff

Shillong, Mar 25 (UNI) Sporadic incidents of violence, including torching of offices mainly in Tura, marked the first day of office picketing in three districts of Garo hills, called to protest against passing of Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBOSE) Amendment Bill 2005 in the state Assembly.

The Bill was passed yesterday despite a strong protest by the NCP members from Garo hills who demanded another committee to review the issue.

The Garo Students' Union-sponsored picketing almost turned the Tura town into a curfew-bound place with people mostly preferring to stay indoors.

As the GSU resorted to fresh phase of stir, the law enforcing agencies also did not let the situation go beyond control.

According to reports, miscreants today torched the agriculture office in Tura.

As soon as the news of the Bill getting passed reached Tura, district headquarter of West Garo Hills, the protestors targetted the government offices.

The protestors' ire could be noticed when reports today said many government offices were damaged by midnight in Tura.

Police said a group of unidentified miscreants last night torched the Directorate of Information and Public Relations office around 0030 hours.

The office was completely gutted, the sources said. However, possibility of short circuit has also not been ruled out.

Yesterday, as Deputy Chief Minister Donkupar Roy 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.'' Tura 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.

"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 said it was ''sad''.

The Centre accused all 24 MLAs from Garo Hills of failing to protect the interest of people there 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 of Garo students'', a senior KSU leader said.

On September 30 last year, police had resorted to fie to disperse agitating crowd at Tura and Williamnagar, which left nine people, mostly students, dead.

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


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