Proscribed outfit calls bandh to protest Sonia's visit

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Shillong, Feb 22 (UNI) Meghalaya was brought under tight security as the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) today called a 12-hour bandh tomorrow to protest Congress President Sonia Gandhi's visit.

The UPA Chairperson is scheduled to arrive in Jowai tomorrow and later proceed to Tura from where Nationalist Congress Party Chief Ministerial candidate Purno A Sangma is contesting the March 3 Assembly polls.

''Elaborate security arrangments have been made to prevent any untoward incident during campaigning by political leaders,'' Director General of Police B K Dey Sawian told UNI.

A team of the Special Protection Group, which looks after the security of the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson, had reviewed the security arrangements with the state police.

Incidentally, the state election department has identified 635 polling stations as 'hyper-sensitive' and 194 'sensitive', of the total 1,582 polling booths.

The Centre has sanctioned 50 companies of additional central paramilitary forces for smooth conduct of the polls. Most of these forces will be deployed in areas classified as 'hyper-sensitive' and 'sensitive'.

Meanwhile, HNLC spokesman Sainkupar Nongtraw said that the visit of Sonia Gandhi to the state has no political ground but was only to mislead the people.'' He said the bandh would be in force from 0060 hours to 1800 hours. Opposing the 'Indian Colonial Political System' and the Congress strategy in the uranium mining issue in the state, the HNLC said that the party had 'victimised' the people.

''The Congress is responsible for forcibly annexing the Khasi land with India through the Instrument of Accession, breaching the standstill agreement by hijacking the freedom and national existence of the Ri U Hynniewtrep,'' he said in an e-mail.

The HNLC also protested the government's 'inability' to bring the organisation to the negotiation table through a political dialogue.

UNI RRK PL VD KP1440

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