HNLC calls bandh to protest PM's visit to Meghalaya

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Shillong, Feb 25 (UNI) Security has been beefed up in Meghalaya ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the state capital following the 12-hour bandh called by the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).

Dr Singh is expected to arrive here on February 27 to campaign for the Congress party.

The HNLC will continue to oppose visits by the 'Indian Leadership' which it sees as ''nothing but a hollow gesture'' and the motive is just to ''befool and buy'' the people, HNLC Spokesman Sainkupar Nongtraw said in an e-mail to local dailies here.

He said the bandh would be in force from 0060 hours to 1800 hours.

Two days ago, the HNLC had observed another bandh, protesting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's election campaign in Jowai and Tura.

The bandh, however, failed to evoke any response.

'' We have tightened our security arrangments across the state in general and Shillong in particular,'' Inspector General of Police S B Singh told UNI here.

Today, a team of Special Protection Group, which looks after the security of the Prime Minister, reviewed the security arrangements with the state police, central para military force, Intelligence Bureau officials and senior government officials.

Opposing the March 3 Assembly elections in the state, the HNLC, which termed the General Election as 'puppet games', warned all candidates of using surrendered cadres of the outfit and other means to achieve their objective which the organisation felt could be detrimental to the security and safety of innocent citizens.

Outlining the three primary reasons for the bandh call, Nongtraw said they are ''opposed to the Indian Political System which has trampeled the traditional rights of the people by virtue of forcibly asking the erstwhile chieftains to sign the 'Instrument of Accession'. Uranium, which the HNLC felt, was being extracted illegaly was the second reason and thirdly the failure to bring the organisation to the negiotiating table were the reasons cited.'' UNI RRK KK VD RN1724

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