Indefinite shutdown called for Garoland

Shillong, Sep 16 (IANS) The Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) Monday called for an indefinite shutdown from Wednesday to demand a separate Garoland state in western Meghayala.

"Whether the police hunt or arrest us for the cause of genuine demand for Garoland and whether they release the arrested leaders or not, we will not refrain from the statehood demand," GHSMC president Nikman Ch Marak said.

However, the shutdown would have a relaxation period from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays have also been exempted from the purview of the shutdown.

The GHSMC - a conglomeration of several Garo organisations - has been agitating in the five district headquarters of Garo Hills demanding a Garoland state.

Twenty-three activists of GHSMC, including their general secretary Augustine D. Marak, have been arrested on charges of intimidation and molestation inside the Deputy Commissioner's office of West Garo Hills district during a 12-hour shutdown called by them Sep 10.

The arrested activists are in judicial custody.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has ruled out division of Meghalaya.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya government has directed the West Garo Hills district administration to prepare a report to take legal action against the GHSMC for sponsoring the indefinite shutdown.

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