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ANVC threatens return to jungles if ceasefire not extended

Shillong, June 29 (Calcutta Tube) The A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), a powerful rebel group in Meghalaya, Tuesday threatened to go back to the jungles if the government refused to indefinitely extend the ceasefire, which expires Wednesday.

‘We wanted the government (centre and state) to extend the ceasefire agreement so as to facilitate regular discussions and interaction on our demands,’ ANVC spokesperson Torik Jangning Marak told reporters.

The militant group fighting for creation of Garoland Autonomous Council had entered into a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the state governments July 23, 2004.

The rebel group operates in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region. The outfit has scaled down its demand for creation of separate Garoland state to an autonomous council in line with the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.

The outfit, Marak said, has submitted its proposal for an indefinite ceasefire agreement to the central government, but Meghalaya is yet to recommend the same.

‘We have met (Meghalaya) home minister (H.D.R. Lyngdoh) on our proposal and we hope they react positively else we will be forced to go back to the jungle,’ the ANVC Spokesman said.

Putting pressure on the government, the tribal Garo militant outfit asked its cadres to move out of their peace camps to undisclosed areas.

Lyngdoh said the state government had no objection to the ANVC proposal of ceasefire extension.

‘It is a routine matter and it (ceasefire agreement) does need the recommendation of the state,’ Lyngdoh said.

The opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), meanwhile, expressed concern about the situation arising out of the uncertainty of the ceasefire extension.

‘The situation in Garo Hills is alarming considering reports in newspapers regarding the ANVC shifting its cadres to undisclosed camps,’ NCP Spokesman James Sangma said.

‘The home minister should come out with a categorical statement clarifying the stand of the state government on the extension of ceasefire with ANVC,’ Sangma said.

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