Meghalaya can be template for counter-insurgency without AFSPA, says former CM

The State police dealt with extremist groups, negating the Army’s need, says Mukul M. Sangma.

Updated - December 08, 2021 11:32 pm IST

Published - December 08, 2021 03:04 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Fromer Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma. File

Fromer Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma. File

Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M. Sangma said the State can be a template for handling insurgency and terrorism without imposing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the country.

He said this at a candlelight vigil in Meghalaya capital Shillong on Tuesday night in memory of the 14 civilians killed by an elite unit of the Army in Nagaland’s Mon on December 4.

“The Centre should carry out a case study on how Meghalaya has dealt with problems such as insurgency and terrorism,” Mr. Sangma, who joined the Trinamool Congress with 11 other MLAs in November, said.

The AFSPA was not deemed necessary in Meghalaya as the State police had dealt with extremism over two decades. Barring a few leaders of the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, almost all extremist groups such as Garo National Liberation Army and A’chik Liberation Matgrik Army have declared a truce.

“In this nation, every individual or citizen must have a sense of belongingness and we collectively build this nation. This is the essence of our democracy. Therefore, there should be no space left for any citizen to feel they are deprived of justice,” he said.

That Meghalaya could deal with insurgency without invoking the AFSPA justified the demand for its repeal across the northeast, Mr. Sangma said.

“I think this is something the Centre should take cognisance of for dealing with insurgency in the right perspective,” he said.

Himanta to visit Kohima

The anti-AFSPA demand has gathered momentum across the contiguous northeastern States – all ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party or its allies in the North East Democratic Alliance.

The North East Students’ Organisation, comprising all State-based students’ bodies, announced a protest programme in the capitals of seven States on December 9.

In Nagaland, the Government called upon the Naga groups to work towards a permanent solution to the vexed peace process and ensure peace.

Spokesperson Neiba Kronu said the members of the State Government’s core committee on the Naga political issue were scheduled to have a meeting with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Kohima on December 9. “The meeting will be on the approach to be adopted in the aftermath of the Mon killings,” he said.

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