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Former rebels in Meghalaya turn to tambola for sustenance

The former rebels of ANVC-B started conducting Bawil Dawil games after the promise of a rehabilitation package by the state government did not materialise.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2017 11:08 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma (second from right) is seen with leaders of ANVC and ANVC-B during a disbanding ceremony of the two rebel outfits at Tura in December 2014.

A group of former rebels, who held guns to fight for a separate state in Meghalaya, plans to sell tickets of a traditional tambola-like board game to earn a living, saying they are frustrated at the lack of the comprehensive rehabilitation package as promised by the government.

A’chik Matgrik, a group formed for the welfare of rebels from ANVC-B, a breakaway faction of Achik National Volunteer Council, said in a statement issued on Sunday that the former rebels would actively promote Bawil Dawil, a local version of tambola or housie, to ensure disillusioned cadres don’t take up arms again.

“We want our former cadres to earn a living instead of being frustrated and depressed. This is our private project to support our former members and the youth,” the statement by AR Marak, the group’s organising secretary, said.

Formed in 1995 with the aim of carving out an Achik Land comprising Garo Hills in Meghalaya and parts of Assam, the parent group and the breakaway faction disbanded 19 years later with 447 cadres of ANVC and 301 from ANVC-B giving up arms.

The former rebels of ANVC-B started conducting Bawil Dawil games in Tura, the largest town in Garo Hills region, after the promise of a rehabilitation package by the Congress government in the state did not materialise.

They now want to promote the traditional version of the board game, based on probability in which players have to strike out numbers from a sheet and get prizes, more actively in rest of the region.

The statement by A’chik Matgrik said that they have informed the authorities about their plan to conduct the board games in the region as “rehabilitation packages are yet to be released to all”.

Nearly three years after the disbanding their outfit in a big ceremony in the presence of chief minister Mukul Sangma, the former rebels from ANVC-B have been accusing the state government of failing to dole out a rehabilitation package for them.

“There are certain technicalities that need to be addressed and in the process, there have been delays,” Sangma told journalists in Shillong in August this year.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 11:06 IST