Cops foil council's hunger strike

Shillong: The plan of the Hynñiewtrep Youths' Council activists to stage a three-day hunger strike from Thursday at a parking lot near the additional secretariat was foiled by the East Khasi Hills district administration.

They were demanding implementation of strong anti-influx mechanisms, including inner-line permit (ILP). The district administration allowed the protest till 4pm, but the activists defied it. They were, however, dispersed by police in the evening.

Amid deployment of security personnel, they shouted slogans condemning the Congress-led government led by chief minister Mukul Sangma. They voluntarily boarded a bus requisitioned by police and were taken to Mawngap police station, nearly 20km from here. From there they were again brought to Shillong at night.

The superintendent of police, East Khasi Hills, Davis N.R. Marak said they would not be allowed to protest on Friday in view of commencement of the Assembly's winter session.

"The activists were only removed from the hunger strike venue for defying the government's order," Marak said.

Earlier in the day, the protesters paid tribute to former student leader Bull N. Lyngdoh on his 23rd death anniversary at Malki here and marched from there to the parking lot for the hunger strike.

The council's general-secretary, Robertjune Kharjahrin, said that the government's action had curtailed the right to hold peaceful protest "just because of the Assembly session".

"We will continue our agitation. In the three-day Assembly session, the House should pass an official resolution to implement various anti-influx mechanisms, including ILP," Kharjahrin said.

On the chief minister's statement that issues related to ILP had been discussed and resolved, Kharjahrin said: "With whom was the issue discussed and resolved? Even those groups that demanded implementation of comprehensive mechanisms have not given up the ILP demand."

The council's president Peter J. Lawai said the "so-called comprehensive mechanisms" cannot be considered strong mechanisms, with the exception of the ILP, in tackling influx in the state.


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