Shillong: The demand for the creation of Garoland, to be carved out of Garo areas in the western part of Meghalaya, reverberated in the mountainous state capital of Meghalaya on Wednesday.
The Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) — a conglomeration of several Garo organisations including the Garo National Council (GNC), a regional political party — held a rally near the Secretariat demanding a Garoland state.
Several Garo leaders, including former Chairman of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army, Champion Sangma, who now leads the A’chik Holistic Awakening Movement, participated in the peaceful rally.
“We have been fighting for Garoland for a very long time. Our statehood demand is on the linguistic lines of the States Reorganisation Act, 1965, and the Government must concede our demand,” GSMC chairman Nikman C.H. Marak said.
“If the government can give Telangana for Telugu-speaking people of that state, why can’t it create Garoland for Garos? We (Garos) will not sit idle and will continue to strive forward till the government creates a separate Garoland,” Marak added.
The GSHMC said that the ruling National People’s Party in Meghalaya had made Garoland an agenda in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Meanwhile, former GNLA chairman Champion R. Sangma voiced confidence that the demand for a separate Garo land will become a reality.
“The late P.A. Sangma fought his last election on this very issue and unfortunately he left us. But fortunately now we have his son, Conrad K. Sangma, as the Chief Minister of the state. I believe he will fulfil the demand for a separate Garoland. It will also depend on the wisdom of Parliament,” Champion said.
On March 18, 2014, the Meghalaya Assembly rejected a resolution for the creation of a separate Garoland state in Garo Hills in the western part of the state. Meghalaya became an autonomous state in 1971 and a full-fledged state in 1972.