Life in Meghalaya hit by militant outfit’s shutdown

May 20th, 2010 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shillong, May 20 (IANS) Normal life came to a standstill in Meghalaya Thursday following a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) to protest the killing of four people in police firing at the disputed Langpih village on the state’s border with Assam.
The HNLC militant group, which organises hit-and-run operations from its hideout in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya.

The Khasi-Jaintia dominated areas in the eastern part of Meghalaya were paralysed following the shutdown. Shops, businesses and educational institutions remained closed while there was little movement of public and private transport.

The state secretariat wore a deserted look while attendance in other government offices and courts was thin.

National Highways No.40 and 44, the lifelines for Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and southern Assam, were also affected by the shutdown.

“There have been no reports of any untoward incident and the situation is normal,” Director General of Police (DGP) S.B. Kakati told IANS.

Six leading civil society groups had organised a 12-hour shutdown Tuesday to protest the Langpih incident.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma rushed to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram to discuss the “indiscriminate” firing by Assam police May 14 at Langpih, 140 km from Shillong, killing four tribal Khasis and injuring several people.

Sangma said he would urge the prime minister and home minister for a time-bound independent inquiry by an independent agency, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), into the incident.

Langpih has been a bone of contention between the neighbouring states, Assam and Meghalaya.

Assam lays claim to Langpih based on the recommendations of the Y.V. Chandrachud committee report, while Meghalaya has rejected the report.

A committee headed by the chief secretaries of both states has been formed to amicably resolve the issue.

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