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Meghalaya outfit threatens total shutdown

- HNLC demands immediate release of arrested pressure group leader

Shillong, May 4: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) today threatened to announce a “total shutdown” of government offices for four days — May 8, 9, 12 and 13 — if an arrested pressure group leader is not released immediately.

On Friday, police arrested president of the Hynniewtrep A’chik National Movement (HANM), Lamphrang Kharbani, along with three others from Rangthong village under South West Khasi Hills district following allegations that he had crossed over from Bangladesh after a meeting with HNLC leaders.

It was also claimed that letterheads and demand notes, purportedly belonging to the proscribed outfit, were seized from the arrested individuals.

Publicity secretary of the HNLC, Sainkupar Nongtraw has, however, brushed aside the allegations levelled against Kharbani.

“The central command strongly condemns the arrest of the HANM leader along with others by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. The allegations made by the police are baseless and have no grounds,” Nongtraw said in a statement to the media.

He also claimed that the letterheads recovered were “planted” by the police and that they were the same expired letterheads which were seized on November 21 last year from Jakrem village.

“This is a ploy of the police to defame the HANM leader in order to create misunderstanding among the organisation members. This is nothing but sheer harassment that is reportedly taking place in the form of arrests. Why would a pressure group leader purposely carry letterheads of the HNLC when he had pending cases and was under the surveillance of the police ?” Nongtraw asked.

Moreover, he said the HNLC, being a revolutionary group, has always maintained good terms with leaders of several pressure groups and NGOs.

“This does not justify arresting all leaders of pressure groups or NGOs. Our counterpart, the ANVC (B), also has links with many top politicians of the state. How many times were such politicians arrested by the police?” he asked.

At the same time, Nongtraw said the police had recently provided adequate security to areas infested by foreign nationals.

“The same police department was not interested to provide security to our Hynniewtrep people residing in Langpih and block I & II,” he added while lashing out at superintendent of police (city) Vivek Syiem.

The HNLC said in future, many other pressure group leaders would be “implicated and arrested” by the police.

While demanding immediate and unconditional release of Kharbani and three others, Nongtraw threatened that if the demand was not heeded, there would be a total shutdown of all state government offices on May 8, 9, 12 and 13.


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