DIPHU (KARBI ANGLONG), Jan 11 – More than 20 socio-political organisations, including the banned UPDS, which made its debut public appearance today after signing the unilateral ceasefire in 2002, gathered for a mass rally at the Karbi Anglong Sports’ Association (KASA) Ground pressing for ‘self-rule’ in the hill district. The rally was attended by over 50,000 people.
Other organisations which took part in the rally comprised the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC), BJP, NCP, Karbi Students’ Association (KSA), Karbi Cultural Society (KCS), Karbi Anglong Peoples’ Party (KAPP) and some other bodies representing the different communities living in Karbi Anglong such as the Tiwas, Dimasas, Nagas, Thadou (Kukis), Mizos, Hindi-speaking, Bengali-speaking and all other religious and linguistic minority organisations.
The rally also proposed a platform including all the pro-autonomy forces under one umbrella so as to back the peace talks with the UPDS and to fulfill the political demands of the people of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills – self-rule or implementation of Article 244 (A) in the districts.
ASDC general secretary Elwin Teron said, “The union of people from all communities of the district was necessary for peace. We all have proposed to form a common platform today which would ensure that the ruling government could not play politics at the fag-end of negotiations between the Centre and the UPDS. The mass gathering, I believe, would send the right signal to those at the helm of affairs,” he added.
“Most of the cadres of the armed groups are in their designated camps now but there is a general assumption that they are becoming impatient as the formal talks are being delayed. They might return to gun culture any time if the talks are delayed further. The proposed platform is also going to ask the Centre to announce a timeframe to complete the negotiations with the insurgents,” he said.
He, meanwhile, welcomed the decision of the Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF) to come to the peace process with the Government and appealed to them to espouse a common cause with the pro-autonomy forces.
UPDS general secretary Haren Bay alias Sai Ding-eh also appealed to the leaders of the KLNLF to come and join the proposed forum so that the demand for ‘Hemprek Kangthim’ or self-rule could be strengthened.
The rally also resolved that if the Government granted statehood to Telangana, it must fulfill the political demands of the people of Karbi Anglong at least by granting the promised autonomy under Article 244 (A) of the Constitution of India.