Festival of peace begins in Meghalaya
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 17:10
Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on thursday inaugurated the two-day Pingera festival in East Garo Hills district to promote peace and harmony among different ethnic tribes living in the region.

Pingera Winter Festival is also being made a platform for appeal to bring peace and harmony between the ethnic Rabha and Garo community settled in different parts of Garo Hills and Assam.

"What happened (earlier this year) is totally a misunderstanding of two communities and this will not happen again. We need peace for development and peace is here to stay," Sangma said.

In January this year, ethnic riots between the two communities took the lives of at least 26 people from both communities in different parts of Garo Hills and different districts of Assam bordering Meghalaya.

The festival has been named after the mythical bird (Pingera) from which Garos believe to trace their ascendancy and is also a platform to remember those killed in the ethnic riot.

The Chief Minister also urged the militants to join mainstream society even as he assured the youth in the region that the government is taking the extra mile in providing initiatives for the youth.

"They should come and join mainstream society and the youth need not indulge in anti-social activities as the government is having plans to involve the youth in different opportunities overall development in the state," he said.

Sangma launched an aqua culture mission for East Garo Hills district in line with those the government implemented at Ampati and Selsella to generate employment and uplift the economic condition of the people.

In the ethnic riots, about 50,000 tribals from both Garo and Rabha communities were displaced in Meghalaya and Assam. 1,036 Rabha households were rehabilitated in Garo Hills so far.

Forty-one power tillers have been distributed to the Rabha community under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. This is the sixth year that two-day festival, a riot of colours with cultural extravaganza and other fairs, is being organised in Williamnagar.


First Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 17:09

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