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KSU activists set fire to office, eight arrested

Written by: Staff

Shillong, June 21 (UNI) Fresh trouble seems to be brewing up in Meghalaya in view of the ongoing Khasi Students' Union (KSU) agitation, coupled with arrest of eight more KSU activists and fresh cases of arson today.

Eight KSU activists were arrested from East and West Khasi hills districts for disrupting public peace in the last 24 hours, while KSU activists torched a government office at Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills district, a police official said. They also attempted to set ablaze a PWD office in Chief Minister D D Lapang's constituency at Nongpoh in Ri-Bhoi district, Deputy Inspector General (Eastern Range) A S Rynjah told UNI here today.

The KSU is demanding release of its jailed activists, who were arrested earlier.

Mr Rynjah said the government was firm and will not release the activists, but continue to crackdown on KSU frontline leaders - Samuel Jyrwa and Hamlet Dohling- who had gone on hiding.

The police official said the hunt for KSU top leaders would continue and ''they too would be booked under MPDA for three years, if arrested.'' Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee had said the law will take its own course as far as their release is concerned and the KSU members will not be released as ''they have broken the law''.

The KSU, which spearheads the movement against uranium mining since June 4 last, had called for fresh road blockade, demanding the unconditional release of their five jailed members, booked under Meghalaya Preventive Detention Act (MPDA).

All the five KSU activists, now in Tura district jail, had resorted to indefinite hunger strike to protest their ''illegal detention''.

The five-night road blockade, which entered its third today has affected the National Highways- 40 and 44, the life lines of Mizoram, Tripura, Barak Valley of Asom and parts of Manipur.

The influential student body, however, denied its involvement in arsons during its agitation. ''Some miscreants are taking advantage of our democratic agitations and the KSU condemns such unwanted acts,'' KSU leader Mebanker Lapang said.

The KSU warned of intensifying its agitation if the government failed to release the arrested KSU leaders within this period.

''If the government still does not release our arrested members within this period, the KSU would have no other option but to intensify its agitation to secure their release,'' Mr Lapang said.


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