Strong Opposition against the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in violence ravaged Garo Hills forced the Centre to take a step back. On Monday, twin protests in Shillong and Tura against the recent directive of the Meghalaya High Court led by the Garo Students Union, Khasi Students Union, Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People, Civil Society Women’s Organizations finally bore fruit.
While taking out the march, protesters condemned the enforcement of several laws and acts imposed by the State government such as the Meghalaya Prevention Detention Act and Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order Act, and thus demanded immediate repeal of these laws.
‘The judiciary has separate powers and functions from the legislative and executive. The judiciary has to step in because the government has completely failed to maintain law and order situation in the state,’ one protestor said, adding, ‘Only due to government’s apathy, the High Court had directed the Centre to consider use of the act in order to curb the rising criminal activities in Garo Hills’.
Juki leader Angela Rangad said, ‘We do not want a Manipur like situation to arise in Meghalaya. We believe that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will bring more violence than peace to the State’.
The activists have further appreciated the remark of Union Minister of State (home) Kiren Rijiju’s that imposition of AFSPA will not bring any solution to the Garo Hills issue.
The Centre will now file a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his deputy Kiren Rijiju communicated the Centre’s decision to Meghalaya Home Minister Roshan Warjri when she called on the duo separately in Delhi on Monday.
Both the Central ministers even assured to take steps to send more Central para military forces to the Hill State to take on the militant groups active in Garo Hills.
Warjri presented a memorandum to both the Union ministers on the prevailing law and situation in the State particularly in Garo Hills.