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Opposition demands security for all

Shillong, Aug. 17: The Opposition National People’s Party (NPP) today asked the Meghalaya government to provide “full security” to all petrol pumps, banks and their employees, government and private institutions and other citizens in Garo hills.

The demand was made at a party meeting in Tura where Lok Sabha MP P.A. Sangma was present.

Stating that there has been a “complete breakdown” of law and order in the Garo hills, NPP spokesperson and legislator James P.K. Sangma said the closure of petrol pumps and banks would lead to the collapse of the economy in Garo hills within two weeks.

The Lok Sabha MP, who rushed to Tura from Delhi, has held a series of meetings with bank officials and the employees association of SBI, James said.

“The MP was shocked to know that the Meghalaya government had not taken any initiative whatsoever to bring back normality to Garo hills with regard to the agitation by the banks,” James said.

According to him, despite the recent occurrences, only three out of 41 SBI branches in Garo hills has been provided security by the government. These include Tura main branch, Williamnagar and Gambegre branches.

The remaining 38 branches, he said, are still vulnerable to abductions and militant attacks as the government has “irresponsibly still not provided adequate security”.

James said the NPP wanted the government to provide security to all petrol pumps, banks and their employees along with government and private institutions and other citizens, as this would bring confidence among the people.

The party also demanded that the government pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the family members of Bittu Patel, the petrol pump attendant who was brutally killed near Tura on August 12.

Moreover, James said the party was surprised that chief minister Mukul Sangma has not called a meeting of citizens and political parties to solicit their opinion to find a solution to the impasse.

Therefore, the NPP demanded that the chief minister convene the meeting immediately.