Meghalaya CM rejects Agatha Sangma’s accusation on Rabha-Garo clashes

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NEW DELHI - Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has turned down accusations made by the Union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma that the recent clashes between the Rabhas and the Garos in areas along the Assam-Meghalaya boundary could have been avoided had the government of both states taken prompt action.

“She should be very specific as to where she has seen the deficiency. I have not received any official input from her side,” Dr. Sangma said while attending a cultural programme organised by the department of Meghalaya Arts and Culture in here on Saturday evening.

“The Central Government has also referred to such ethnic clashes, and she is also a part of it. Therefore, I see no reason as to why she should point a finger at the state government,” he added.

Agatha, the young minister affiliated to Sharad Power’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had earlier said that the destruction could have been averted if the governments of both states had reacted “more sensibly and immediately”.

“The situation could have been brought under control and the destruction could have been avoided to a great extent only if the governments of the two states had reacted more sincerely and immediately. Compensations cannot make up for the losses. But people have to move on. They should live more amicably. It’s a very disturbing experience for everybody in the region,” she said.

According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), a human rights’ organization, over 20,000 Rabhas had fled the Garo-dominated areas of Meghalaya and hundreds of Garos escaped from the Rabha-dominated villages of Goalpara district following the riots that broke out in January this year.

The clashes had taken a bad turn following the January 1 incident when a verbal confrontation took place among some drunken youth from the Rabha and Garo communities, partying at Manikganj in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district. Later the Rabha group had allegedly assaulted two boys belonging to the Garo community.

The Chief Minister insisted that love, and forgiveness are the only solutions to such problems.

“If today we have to move forward, then there is no room for hatred. The only space we have to create is forgiveness and love.” (ANI)

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