Meghalaya: Rebel group warns people against voting for ruling party in by-polls
The proscribed Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has asked the citizens of the state not to vote for the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) in the upcoming by-elections to the three Assembly seats, slated for October 30.
The rebels also served a one-week ultimatum to the NPP to shut down all its facilities in the Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills region.
“We urged the people not to vote for the NPP in the by-election as a mark of protest against the gunning down of Cherish Thangkhiew,” HNLC general secretary-cum-spokesperson Saiñkupar Nongtraw said in an emailed communiqué late Wednesday.
Thangkhiew, a former self-styled general secretary of the HNLC, was allegedly killed in a police operation to arrest him from his residence in the wee hours of August 13.
Claiming that national parties come and go in Meghalaya but none of them can truly serve the people of the state, Nongtraw said, “I feel the national parties are just like a rainbow coalition and that they can never address the problems faced by the state,” while asserting, “Therefore, we need our own regional parties which can deliver and fulfil the aspirations of the people.”
The outfit leader further announced that the NPP is directed to shut down all its offices in the Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills region beginning today. “We will give only one week to complete the exercise,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the HNLC has referred to the police statement that an HNLC cadre, named Emanuel Suchen, had recently surrendered in Khliehriat, East Jaiñtia Hills District as a “drama”.
“Six months ago, Suchen was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the IED blast. Even after he was released, police repeatedly conducted searches and raids often threatening him with dire consequences which forced him to go underground and subsequently surrender,” Nongtraw elaborated while affirming that Suchen was never involved in the planting of any IED explosive as alleged by the police.
“Simply because they failed to gather concrete evidence regarding the IED cases, the state police resorted to random arrests of former cadres of the HNLC as well as innocent youths as if they were chickens in a farm, but it is not easy to arrest cadres of the outfit. Such arrests only show that they (police) are weak and have become like swines drunk on fermented corn,” Nongtraw scoffed.