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HNLC push for fresh faces

Shillong, Jan. 7: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) today declared that fresh recruitment has been made recently and announced that 2014 would be the year of the poor.

“2014 has served to be a good year to the HNLC, and the main factor behind this is the overwhelming response of new dedicated people who were recruited in various wings. We hope that with the presence of more educated youths and new blood, it (the group) would be stronger,” HNLC “publicity secretary” Sainkupar Nongtraw said in a statement issued to a section of the media.

The HNLC, which was founded in 1987, had suffered severe blows over the years with of most of its cadres surrendering. The group was at its peak in the nineties and early 2000.

The outfit’s founding chairman Julius K. Dorphang had come overground in 2007, and is currently an Independent legislator representing Mawhati constituency in Ri Bhoi district.

Nongtraw, however, did not elaborate on the number of people who have been recruited to the organisation.

He said the outfit’s central command had yesterday decided to dedicate its services for the uplift of the poor. He further declared that the HNLC has declared 2014 as the year of the poor. “This is the beginning of the year and most of the poor people are preparing for the educational needs of their children, including schools and colleges. It has come to the notice of the council that various book retailers are engaged in manipulating the prices of books,” Nongtraw said.

He also appealed to private educational institutions to come up with a strategy to reduce the burden on the parents by cutting down expenses related to extracurricular activities. “The education system must not take the form of a business,” the HNLC publicity secretary added.

Nongtraw said the “so-called government educational agencies” should come up with strategies to help school dropouts as they are most influenced by drugs and alcohol, besides being prone to unemployment.

Talking about rise in prices of essential commodities, he said this factor was affecting the poor directly, and warned traders who are involved in creating a fluctuation of prices in the market.

Targeting the police, he said the police department was “solely responsible” for the rise in prices of essential commodities “as they are engaged in direct extortion from truck drivers supplying essential commodities to the region”.

“These extortionists are the real criminals who can manipulate law and its agencies, whereas petty thieves are given rigorous punishment by the law agencies and convicted,” Nongtraw said.

“Any complaints received by the HNLC against any trader will be taken seriously. We also give all Hynniewtrep vegetable vendors and other product sellers the ultimate authority to sell their products anywhere across the town or in the villages,” Nongtraw said.

He said any government agency prohibiting the vendors from selling their products would face the council’s wrath. “Many fake companies have also duped the public by giving false promises and laundering crores of rupees. The council appeals to the public to stop investing in such companies,” he added.

At the same time, the council issued a warning to government servants who “misguide villagers and poor people”.

Nongtraw alleged that politicians, the police department and bureaucrats were being used by a particular trading community “to explore avenues to economically exploit Hynniewtrep and its resources”.

“The council will further intensify its actions against this community if the exploitation is not being stopped at the earliest,” he added.