Shillong: Activists of five pressure groups took out a protest march to the Secretariat in Shillong today defying section 144 CrPC, which bans assembly of more than five persons, against the state government’s failure to address the nine-point charter of demands that include implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
Although district magistrates and cops tried to ward off protesters by citing the clamping of prohibitory orders across the state capital, the activists went ahead with the demonstration by gathering near the secretariat.
The protesters refused to heed to the cops’ plea, raised placards and slogans against the state government and called for fulfilling all the demands before the model code of conduct (MCC) comes into effect in the state, which is going for fresh polls next year.
Today’s surprise protest was part of the ‘Save Hynniewtrep Mission’ launched by the five pressure groups – Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC), East Jaintia National Council (EJNC), Jaintia Students Movement (JSM), Hynniewtrep Achik National Movement (HANM) and Confederation of Ri Bhoi People (CoRP).
The state capital was also put under tight security to prevent any untoward incidents.
Later, leaders of the five pressure groups were also invited by the home minister Lahkmen Rymbui for discussion on the issues. However, they were not happy with the outcome of the meeting by saying “He (Rymbui) could not take any decision as the issues are related with the political department, which is not under his jurisdiction.”
Speaking to reporters, HYC general secretary Roykupar Synrem said deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong had called upon all members of pressure groups “not to be busy in the streets and beating up people but to come to the secretariat to discuss any issues.”
“Based on that call given by the deputy Chief Minister, we have decided to march to the secretariat to meet and put the question to them (ministers) as to what has happened to the resolutions related to the ILP and Khasi language, what happen to the report of the one man commission of inquiry which stated that the police are involved in the killing of ex-HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, what happens to the various charges of corruption, as to what the government is doing regarding the unemployment, job reservation policy as well as repealing of the casino act,” he said.
“We came with that motive and objective to meet the people who are representing us but sadly we came to know that from now onwards if you want to meet your representative, you have to seek permission from the deputy commissioner. This is unfortunate as we have not had this kind of a situation before,” he added.
Condemning the imposition of 144 CrPC across the state capital, Synrem said that this is nothing but a ploy of the government to keep the people’s voice at their homes by not allowing people to come to the street to show that they are not happy with its functioning.
He further alleged, “Maybe this is just a ploy or a tactic of this government to further strengthen its own party so that they may gain political mileage in the next election.”
Referring to Supreme Court orders, Synrem said, “You cannot implement laws in order to keep the people from protesting or from showing and exercising their rights. We make it clear that we will not abide by these kinds of laws or orders by the district magistrate.”
Synrem said that actually they did not want to meet the home minister since they already knew it will not be a fruitful meeting and it will be just a waste of time.
“But at the end we respect him as a home minister so we just went and informed him that today we have launched this Save Hynniewtrep Mission and that in the coming days the five organizations will further intensify agitations,” he said.
Meanwhile, the HYC leader further alerted the state government and the district administration to be prepared for more and more surprise agitations.
“We will be announcing a series of agitations. Our members and volunteers will go to every place that the chief minister visits, that the deputy chief minister visits or any minister visit whether it is for their own party meeting or for official meetings – to remind and ask them what happened to these points of demands,” he said.
He said that the timeframe put forth by the five pressure groups in the first phase of agitation is for the government to fulfil the demands before the model code of conduct is made effective in the state.
“During this period there will be a series of agitations. After the model code of conduct is announced, we will sit and discuss our future course of action,” Synrem stated.