Shillong, Oct. 18: The Meghalaya government today reacted to the 36-hour bandh called by the HNLC on Monday and Tuesday, which coincides with the maiden visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to the state.
A press release said, “HNLC is a proscribed organisation and has been boycotting the celebrations of national days of importance like Independence Day and Republic Day through bandh calls.
Likewise, HNLC also called a boycott of the last general election to the Meghalaya Assembly which met with a resounding defeat as the voter turnout in the state registered an all-time high of 87.97 per cent.
The 36-hour bandh call can well be termed anti-student and seeks to deprive about 2,000 students from attending the convocation at North Eastern Hill University to receive their degrees.
“While steps are being taken to provide all necessary security arrangements for the protection of all sections of the people, the government appeals to each and every citizen to come out in large numbers to greet the President on this auspicious occasion. This will be an indication of our maturity and send out a strong message that people of the state can be no longer be held to siege at every turn,” it added.
Civil society plea: ICARE held a meeting today to discuss the ongoing ILP agitation and the 36-hour bandh arrived at the following resolutions:
n That frequent and prolonged bandhs or public curfew, aside from being illegal, are anti-people and anti-poor. They tend to do more harm than good for the very people they profess to champion.
n It said the 36-hour bandh call given by the HNLC appears to overlook the fact that it is in fact a 48-hour bandh taking into consideration that October 20 is a Sunday. It overlooks the reality that there are thousands of daily wage earners who could ill afford three continuous wageless days.
n As a mark of protest, ICARE will organise a public gathering at Khyndai Lad (Police Bazar) on Monday at 10am.
n Common citizens have been held hostage to this standoff between the government and NGOs over the inner-line permit issue. “A take-it-or-leave-it offer in the form of the Tenancy Act to counter the ILP demand reflects very poorly on the seriousness of the government to resolve the influx issue. People wonder as to why no proactive action is being undertaken against suspected illegal migrants who are already in the state,” it added.