HNLC observes bandh protesting PM'a visit

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Shillong, Feb 27 (UNI) Life in Meghalaya was thrown out of gear following a Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council- sponsored 12-hour bandh protesting against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's maiden visit to the state.

Dr Singh arrived in Shillong, in a chopper from Kohima and addressed his whirlwind election rally under tight security.

Meghalaya goes to polls on March 3 with 331 candidates, including 60 Congress candidates in the fray.

Almost all state and central government establishments, educational and financial institutions remained closed in the city.

Thin attendance was recorded in most of the government offices, official sources said.

Superintendent of Police Mukesh Singh said there had been no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state.

The bandh also cut off many northeastern states including Mizoram, Tripura, Barak Valley of Asom and parts of Manipur from the rest of the country as National Highways- 40 and 44 were out of bounds.

AICC general secretary in-charge Meghalaya Margret Alva had told reportters that '' some vested interest parties are trying to disrupt the Congress rally by calling bandh. I would like to thank you all for defying the call of the militant outfit and coming in such large number.

The HNLC said that the Centre was not sincere in its efforts to hold peace talks with the outfit.

However, unconfirmed reports reaching here said that one person was gunned down in Borato village of Jaintia Hills, even as police officials have rushed to the area to ascertain the incident.

''I have deputed a patrol party team to ascertain the incident,'' SP Mukesh Singh told UNI over phone.

UNI RRK KK RN/DB LS VC2112

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