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Call to defy HNLC strike call

Shillong, Aug. 11: The Meghalaya government today exhorted the public to defy the 48-hour shutdown called by the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).

The outfit yesterday announced that the shutdown would begin from 6pm on Wednesday and conclude at 6pm on Friday in the entire Khasi-Jaintia hills region.

The HNLC is a proscribed organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 since 2000. The government’s political department said the group has been boycotting the celebrations of national days of importance through bandh calls.

“The state government has taken serious note of these avoidable and unnecessary calls for bandhs, particularly by a proscribed organisation, and would like to reiterate its firm commitment to maintain law and order at all costs and to ensure that the security of its citizens is not compromised in any way,” an official communique stated.

People and government employees have been exhorted not to pay any heed to this “unreasonable call” without any fear or apprehension of reprisals.

Moreover, the government requested the people to come out in large numbers and witness the 68th Independence Day celebrations, an “indication of our maturity and send out a strong message that the people of the state can no longer be wilfully held to siege at every turn”.

HNLC “publicity secretary” Sainkupar Nongtraw had announced that the shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday would be against the NGT ban on coal mining, and the Friday shutdown a sign of protest against the policy of the Centre in forcing the signing of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement on August 17, 1948, at “gunpoint”.