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Govt to punish blockade enforcers

Shillong, April 30: The state home department has initiated steps to frame charges against those who sponsor agitation, including the night road blockades, under the rules related to Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order (MMPO).

Meghalaya police have said the agitators will have to compensate for the damage done to public and private property, including vehicles, though they are not directly involved in the incident.

Meghalaya director-general of police N. Ramachandran said the police were using the provisions of the order to ensure compensation from the organisations, which sponsor night road blockade and bandhs.

The Shillong-based NGOs have already called the second round of the night road blockade for three consecutive days beginning 7pm today.

The MMPO Bill, passed by the Meghalaya Assembly in March 2010, has provisions to imprison those who sponsor an agitation for a minimum period of three years and maximum of seven years. According to the bill, those who destroy property will be liable to compensate the government, the public and the private citizen for the loss suffered by them.

“The proceedings under the section of the order is on and the sponsoring bodies will be held responsible,” Ramachandran said.

According to the DGP, the police have already registered a case under the provisions of the order against those persons who have sponsored the agitation so that they can compensate for the damage done to the property. Several government vehicles and offices were torched by unidentified goons during last week’s road blockade called by the Shillong-based NGOs to protest against alleged enrolment of voters. There were also several incidents of stone-pelting in parts of Shillong. Haystacks and trucks have also been attacked by goons.