Fri, Oct 28, 2016 | updated 07:25 PM IST

Ex-rebels play friendly football match in Meghalaya's Garo Hills

Updated: Aug 18, 2016 18:09 IST

Shillong (Meghalaya), Aug.18 (ANI): To mark the 70th Independence Day, surrendered cadres of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and the disbanded United A'chik Liberation Army (UALA) played a friendly football match.

The friendly match was played at the Dikki Bandi Stadium in Meghalaya's Garo Hills.

It was an initiative undertaken by pastors engaged in spiritual counselling of the former rebels - 32 UALA cadres at the Baljek airport camp in Jengjal and 49 GNLA cadres at the 2nd MLP camp at Goeragre, Rongram.

Hundreds of local residents gathered at the stadium to watch the thrilling match.

Novembirth Marak, UALA Chairman, said, "We are very happy that we have got an opportunity to mingle with the general public. Earlier, while we were in the jungle, we lived with fear for our lives, but now, we need not fear anyone. I would like to thank all the people and administration who have supported us in this exhibition football match."

The GNLA team took the victory cup home by scoring one goal against the UALA team.

Dilsrang Sangma, a UALA cadre, said, "We are very thankful to the district administration for organising this friendly event. We are very happy to see lots of people coming forward and supporting us. In future, we would like to play with other teams."

The surrendered cadres are also receiving inputs for skill profiling and skill development which is being conducted by a team of Programme Associates of the state flagship programme-- Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion scheme.

Pilliport D Shira Alias Rakban, a GNLA area commander, said, "In future, we would like to be social with public and we would be more materialised in the near future. We are very happy to take up sports activities in the future. We have seen that all the people have supported us in this game. It means that we are now welcomed by the people we don't fell rejected now."

Such tremendous step taken by the outfits will not only inspire other rebel groups in the north-eastern region but also sends out a great message of peace across the world. (ANI)