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Five day ultimatum given to Conrad Sangma by Achik Students’ Welfare Association

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Tura Nov 17,2017: The Achik Students’ Welfare Association have issued a five day ultimatum to MP Conrad Sangma on basis of not responding to the demand made by the concerned association.

The AWA have issued a memorandum to the PM in the month of April 2017 demanding a full fledged Central University in Garo Hills which should be named as Garo Hills University in order to meet the needs of the students of the Garo community who wish to pursue higher studies. The AWA have also given a copy of the memorandum to Conrad Sangma but to their disbelief did not receive any help till now. The association in this case has given a five day ultimatum to Conrad Sangma to support their demand.

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Team set up to keep a check on social media to ensure free and fair polls in 2018: F. Kharkongor

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Shillong, November 17, 2017: State Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Kharkongor said that his office has set up a team to keep a check on social media and try to ommit any news which is detrimental for a free and fair election in 2018.

“It’s a difficult task to check and control the news which are generated in the social media. But we will try our  best to keep a check on the paid news to ensure a free and fair poll in the State,” Kharkongor said while speaking as one of the panelist on the topic “Challenges before the Media- Press and Election” during the National Press Day celebration yesterday.

According to Kharkongor, this will be a first for Meghalaya to witness technologies of such a kind to be used in the conduct of the 2018 elections.

Former Home Minister RG Lyngdoh observed that over the years the quality of reporting in the State has improved a lot. however he also feared that the influences of social media will take away the role of the mainstream media in a democratic country like India.

Senior journalist from Kashmir Iftikar Gilani while speaking on the occasion said that  the media has failed Kashmir by not reporting objectively about the State’s “1987 rigged Assembly elections,” which has resulted in the present day militancy in the State.

“During that election there was widespread rigging of the polls. Even during the counting process there was rigging and the media didn’t report it despite everyone knowing it,” Gilani said.
The journalist said that several present day “separatists” leaders in Kashmir are sort of by-products of the rigged elections process of 1987. “Had the elections process was fair and free some of these leaders would now have been ex-MLAs, but unfortunately that didn’t happen as democracy was plugged and people took to militancy,” he said.

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Garo Hills State Movement Committee demands for Garoland state.

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Tura, Nov 16,2017: The demand for a separate Garoland state intensified ahead of the 2018 election to the Meghalaya Assembly through a rally that was initiated by the Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC).

The rally began from Chandmari playground and passed through Tura bazar and culminated at Law college playground in New Tura. The rallyists shouted slogans – “A’ching A’song Tangbangchina” (long live Garoland) as they marched through the streets of Tura town.

The rallyists also displayed placards which read ‘Jago Modi Jago’ (wake up Modi) and ‘We want Garoland, no state, no rest!’ while making an attempt to make themselves heard on the demand for Garoland while stating the demand was genuine with an urgent need for its creation.

The rallyists cleared the doubt saying that Garos are demanding a separate state not because they do not want to live with its counterpart Khasi and Jaintia in Meghalaya but because it was an age old demand raised by their forefathers and it was high time that it was considered.

The rallyists drew attention of the public saying that Garo freedom fighter Sonaram R. Sangma had taken up the issue for a separate Garoland during the British era and Garo National Council (GNC) had also taken up the issue in late 1960s under the leadership of founding chief minister of Meghalaya late Captain Williamson A. Sangma.

However, as there was aspiration from the hills people for separate state during that time, the demand for separate hill state got momentum, leading to the creation of Meghalaya and other states carved out of Assam.

The Garo National Council (GNC), a political party that has been raising its voice for Garoland took the centre stage in the rally with its leader Kalpana Marak, wife of former minister Late Clifford Marak and president of GNC, member of district council Jimberth Momin and former deputy chief executive member of district council Augustine Marak urging the public to lend their support for the cause of Garoland state.

“GNC has been demanding Garoland since 1992 and has submitted series of memorandums. The demand got adequate support from many other regional parties of the state including HSPSP of late Hopingstone Lyngdoh and UDP but due to lack of political willpower, the demand is yet to be materialized,” said Augustine Marak, leader of GNC.

He also said that the regional parties of Khasi – Jaintia Hills mainly the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (HSPDP), United Democratic Party (UDP) and People Democratic Front (PDF) has agreed to make the demand for separate state for Khasi and Jaintia and GNC has decided to raise the issue of Garoland in the 2018 state assembly election.

“We are committed to the cause of our people. The current government in the centre is of the idea to create 50 states in India, the Garoland has to be one of the state,” Marak said, while exhorting that based on linguistic line, the Garos ought to have a state of its own.

Chairman of GHSMC Nikman Marak informed the gathering that they have recently submitted their memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Nikman informed that the central government has said that demand for a separate state has to be passed in the state legislative assembly than only it can be taken up in the parliament. “It is important that political parties irrespective of their affiliation come together and raise this issue for the interest of the people of the state”, he added.

GHSMC has been spearheading their demand since 2012 and has held its 22nd rally today at Tura. They are going to further intensify their demand with similar rallies in other parts of Garo hills. Today’s rally did not have much participation barely around 1000 people but the spirit for the demand was high.

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“UDP to emerge single largest party after 2018 Assembly elections,”says Paul Lyngdoh

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Shillong, November 15, 2017: The United Democratic Party (UDP) has expressed confident that it would emerge as the single largest party after the upcoming 2018 Assembly elections in the State.

“We are confident that we will emerge as the single largest party after the elections,” UDP working president, Paul Lyngdoh told newsmen here on Tuesday.

While terming the three political parties- NPP, PDF and NCP- as splinter groups, he said that all the three political parties have emerged from the Congress.

“They are like the breakaway faction of the Mukul Sangma group,” Lyngdoh stated.

He further stated that the party does not see any threat from other political parties since they will all diminish after the elections.

The UDP working president also said that the party trump card in this election will be the ‘potential dark horses” candidates even though the other political parties will depend on the top leaders of the party to win the election.

On the UDP-HSPDP alliance, he said that the two parties have come together for the first time since the early 80’s.

“We have decided to work together with a definite mission,” he said.

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Disqualification of 17 MLAs: Meghalaya Governor to strictly abide by Article 192 while making a decision

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Shillong, November 14, 2017: Ganga Prasad, the governor of Meghalaya has made it clear that he will strictly abide by Article 192 of the Constitution while deciding on the disqualification of the 17 MLAs holding the post Parliamentary Secretaries. This was informed by president of the Meghalaya Truck Owners and Operators Association (MCTOOA) Augustine Shanpru who had accompanied the petitioner on the PIL, Madal Sumer who had a meeting with the  governor at Raj Bhavan yesterday to demand the disqualification of all the 17 MLAs.

“The Governor has made it clear that he will strictly follow the provisions under Article 192 of the Constitution while taking a decision on the matter,” Shanpru said while taking to newsmen. He further added that the governor also told them that he would discuss the matter with the Assembly Speaker and the Election Commission of India.

While passing its judgment, the high court, on November 9 has left the decision on the matter of disqualification to the Meghalaya Governor.

Citing the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Bimolangshu Roy versus the Assam Government case, the Meghalaya High Court had ruled that the Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2005, be “struck down.”

“Following the decision in Bimolangshu Roy’s case, the Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2005 is held invalid for want of legislative competence of the State Legislature and is, therefore, struck down,” the court had stated in its order.

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