Member of Parliament from Tura constituency and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma today said any bifurcation of Meghalaya has to be mutually agreed by all. Sangma, who advocated the need to have a 'Grand Federation of the North East Tribes (GFNET)' to accord due recognition to all tribes in the region, said, "During my election campaign, I had made it clear that any bifurcation of the state has to be mutually agreed by major communities -– the Khasi, the Jaintia on one hand and the Garos on the other."
Asked whether the creation of a separate Garo land would solve most of the problems in Garo Hills hit by militancy, the MP said, "We don't know. No solution is a complete solution in any issue...but am saying there are sections of people among Khasis and Jaintias who are articulating we should have a separate Khasi-Jaintia state. "Similar sentiments have been articulated by a section of the Garos... We cannot ignore those sentiments but it has to be mutual."
Earlier before the last Lok Sabha elections, Sangma had expressed that he is not in favour of creating separate state. Stating that in the North East, there is no concept of statehood, he said, "We are forcing people to live together." He added, "We have to realise the reality and by experience we have to think of something else." The former Lok Sabha Speaker further said that he has a big plan for North East and is still discussing with the leaders of the region.
"My idea is to have a Grand Federation of the NE Tribes (GFNET) where each tribe will have autonomy as being proposed in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution," he said. According to him, these autonomies will have a North East grand assembly or it can even be called a parliament, where each tribe should have representatives. "There is a need to convert the North East Council (NEC) into the North East Commission on the line of European Commission and on the line of European parliament," the leader said, adding "That's the only way you can give due recognition to all the tribes in the North East."