Meghalaya on high alert after HNLC threat

SHILLONG, Feb 22 – The border outposts along the Indo-Bangla border in Khasi-Jaintia Hills sector has been put on high alert following the 36-hour bandh called by the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) from February 22 to boycott the Assembly elections.

BSF officers have also been asked to station themselves at the BOPs instead of the headquarters here. There are 35 BOPs in the Khasi-Jaintia hills sector. The BSF is in touch with its Bangladesh counterpart to thwart attempt by any HNLC cadre to infiltrate during the elections.

Meghalaya Government also held a security review with top officials and political parties. Chaired by the Chief Secretary BPO Warjri, DGP Prem Singh, Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik and representatives of four political parties attended the meeting here at the Secretariat.

The meeting decided to appeal voters to come and vote freely on the polling day. It also decided to verify the authenticity of the email sent to local media houses by the HNLC.

Informing that there are 900 hyper-sensitive polling stations in the State, he said 355 of these are militancy-hit. 32 have been tagged likewise for “intense political rivalry.” In these booths a section of Central paramilitary forces would be deployed. There are 91 paramilitary companies who are already in the State for poll and counter-insurgency duty, Warjri said.

The HNLC in a statement called the bandh to boycott the elections. This is the first time that the outfit has called the bandh during an election and also warned that if its set of demands were not met then it would also boycott the Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, CEO, Prashant Naik said that 12 polling parties have left the State capital yesterday on poll duties. Another 1083 parties left today and the tomorrow another 1390 would move for their respective duties. Naik further said that campaigning would end today at 4 pm.