High alert in Meghalaya ahead of I-Day

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Shillong, Aug 13 (UNI) Security measures were tightened in Meghalaya in view of the boycott call of Independence Day by the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council(HNLC), official sources said today.

Central Paramilitary Forces and police personnel were deployed at various places of the city. Police commandos were checking all vehicles passing through the city and Meghalaya-Assam border to detect the movement of insurgents who might infiltrate into the state capital to disrupt the celebrations.

''Although, there have been no specific information about possible militant attacks to disrupt the Independence Day celebration, but we have put all our police personnel on high alert in the wake of the recent terror attacks across the country,'' Meghalaya Director General of Police B K Dey Sawian told UNI here.

The proscribed HNLC, which had been fighting for an 'independent Hynniewtrep homeland' for some decades, had called a 24-hour bandh to boycott tomorrow's celebrations in Khasi and Jaintia Hills areas of the state.

The bandh would be in force from 1800 hours August 14 to 1800 hours on August 15 to protest against ''India's Independence Day celebrations''.

BSF personnel guarding the porous Indo-Bangla border were also directed to keep an extra vigil to thwart attempts by North East-based militants to sneak into India from their hideouts in Bangladesh, he said.

There are at least 176 camps and hideouts of such ultra outfits entrenched in Bangladesh.

Incidentally, another militant outfit of the state -Achik National Volunteers' Council (ANVC) - fighting for a separate Garoland, under a ceasefire agreement with the government had not boycotted the celebrations for many years.

Therefore, for the past few years, Independence and Republic day were celebrated in Garo Hills without any hitch.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee told reporters that school children have a ''right to participate and witness the national celebrations''.

Appealing the public to join the national celebration, Mr Chatterjee said the government wanted the participation of school children in ''large number'' and therefore invited 25 schools to take part in this year's celebrations.

'' The government intends to make the Independence Day celebration a gala affair so that people will come out in large number to witness it and also participate,'' he stated.

Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy would unfurl the tricolour at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Independence Day.

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