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Blasts fail to dampen carnival
Shillong, Nov 2 (AT):
Published on 3 Nov. 2008 1:20 AM IST
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Peering from his vehicle, tourist taxi driver Karnesh Rai's sad demeanor was lighted up by the boisterous Shillong Carnival and he smiled: "It's so nice in here". Rai was waiting for the parade to clear up at Police Bazaar Point, so that he could drive back passengers to Guwahati. "I don't want to go back, I am scared," he said with an air of despondency. All through the conversation about Guwahati, Rai, however, smiled and clapped and waved his hands at the passing parade; sometimes at the Manipur contingent decked in their colourful attire or at small marching Tibetan boys and girls beating the drums and playing the flute with utmost synchronisation! "We love our brothers and sisters from Assam and are together with them. We cannot be weak at this moment, but stand united and fight together," Suresh Thokchom, president of Manipur Students' Union, Shillong unit said. The Manipur contingent comprised students from the Meitei, Naga and Kuki community - the three communities otherwise having various socio-political differences. "We want to leave behind our differences and march ahead together," Thokchom said. In the morning today, vehicular and human traffic was below normal in the city here. But people rushed out to have a glimpse of the parade and immediately there was the usual traffic snarls. "Enjoy life," screamed an old lady with outstretched hands to the cheering parade near Fire Brigade Ground. The carnival, organised by the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF), had school and college students from most of the Northeastern States, who took part in the event decked in colourful traditional costumes. They paraded from IGP Point circumventing Laitumkhrah and culminating at Polo Grounds. "Whatever has happened in Assam has to be taken up as a challenge. We cannot be cowed down … but join hands and fight together," RG Lyngdoh former Meghalaya Home Minister and Chairman of MTDF asserted. Others, like Pushpa and Gymar Tagia, students from Arunachal Pradesh, said that they felt "secure and happy" by participating in the parade. Sudhir Debbarma, adviser to Tripura Students' Federation, echoed similar sentiments, adding: "we must stand together to fight violence." At Polo Grounds, the Carnival assembled and stood for a minute's silence for those killed and injured in Thursday's bomb carnage in Assam. "We are investing in youth power for a better tomorrow," DD Laloo, a MTDF member, said confidently.

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