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Change of Guards, violence mars M’laya
Correspondent SHILLONG, DEC 30:
Published on 30 Dec. 2010 11:26 PM IST
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Apart from the change of guards, police office floating militant outfit and Shillong Chamber Choir made headlines in Meghalaya.
Champion R Sangma, a deputy superintendent of police in Meghalaya Police floated the Garo National Army due to alleged harassment by his senior police officers.
The GNLA, has unleashed a reign of terror in the three impoverished three district of Garo Hills by resorting to grenades attacks, killings and kidnappings.
The nascent militant outfit also sent extortion notes to politicians through text messages demanding Rs 50 lakh.
Meghalaya, which is known for its political instability witnessed another change of guards in a span of three years.
Mukul. M. Sangma took over the reins from D.D.Lapang to become Meghalaya’s youngest Chief Minister on April 20.
The year also witnessed a number of corruption charges including against 15 legislators and two assembly employees for producing fake and inflated bills amounting to Rs. 1.67 crore on a European junket.
That apart, Right to Information activists here also unearthed Rs 9 crore scam of substandard Corrugated Galvanized Iron sheets scam.
The state also witnessed the conviction of seven people, including a retired Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official L.R. Mithran by the Special Court of Central Bureau of Investigation.
On the border front, Meghalaya witnessed series of unprovoked firing by Bangladesh Rifles in disputed areas between India and Bangladesh in its southern slopes. The BSF however continues to make all attempts to secure the nation’s boundary
However, the vexed inter-state boundary with Assam took a turn for the worst on May 14 when four tribal Khasi people were killed by Assam police at disputed Langpih village.
Later, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma drove down to Dispur and met his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi in Guwahati to iron out the long-pending boundary dispute.
Both state Chief Secretaries also held separate meetings on the issue as in previous occasions, but till date the outcome of such high profile pow-wows remain in a state of suspended animation since both states continue on maintaining status quo.
On the insurgency front, the centre has initiated a political dialogue with the outlawed A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) for creation of Garoland Territorial Council.
The banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a tribal militant outfit fighting for a sovereign “Hynniewtrep homeland” also expressed its desire to hold dialogue with the government.
However, the government has made it clear that talks with the outfit would be within the ambit of the Indian constitution.
Apart from the scrapping the British-era Police Act and replaced it with Meghalaya Police Bill, 2010, the state police also inducted a 53-member Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to conduct anti-insurgency operations.
The Meghalaya police also made yielded results in their fight against militants in the state with over a dozen being arrested or killed in encounters.
Liberation A’chik Elite Force (LAEF) Chairman Dimrim N. Sangma and GNLA general secretary Gregory A. Sangma were among the top militants who gave up their armed rebellion.
On the nuclear front, Meghalaya witnessed opposition from Garo tribals for the proposed exploratory drilling for uranium inside the ecologically-fragile Balpakram National Park (BNP) in South Garo Hills district, bordering Bangladesh.
However, the central government set 2012 as the year to start the Rs 1,100 crore Kylleng- Pyndengsohiong-Mawthabah (KPM) uranium mining project in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district. The project has been pending due to opposition from various groups and political parties.
Garo Hills in western part of Meghalaya witnessed violent protest against holding the first-ever civic polls in four municipal boards.
The government was forced to adjourn the civic polls.
Teacher’s strike and North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) students’ demanding for an appointment of a tribal Vice Chancellor also made the headlines.
Meghalaya however as usual was not bogged down with controversies and sorrows and as the citizen says life goes on. Keeping the flag flying, India’s rock capital was in the musical map when India’s choral group - Shillong Chamber Choir – bagged three gold diplomas in all three categories - Musica Sacra, Gospel and Popular.
The choral group also won the finals of reality TV show India’s Got Talent Khoj 2 in October.
Anyway Meghalaya is Meghalaya and will always be Meghalaya. Come what may 2008 was just another year and 2009 should definitely be better.

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