Festival of peace begins in Meghalaya

Last Updated: Thursday, December 8, 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.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 17:09
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