As the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Government has come under the radar from several groups after a frequent allegation of illegal coal mining and transportation in the state, the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has accused the NPP-led MDA government of running a cartel to facilitate illegal coal mining in the state.
This came as a reaction to the statement of the home minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Monday that no organization can levy any tax except with due provisions of the law.
The home minister was referring to the claim made by the HNLC that the reason for the IED blast at Star cement was due to the failure of the factory owner to pay a tax put forth by the outfit.
In a statement issued to the media on Tuesday, HNLC general secretary cum publicity secretary, Sainkupar Nongtraw however said the Home Minister has spilled the beans about levying taxes.
“By stating that only the specific govt agencies empowered by law can levy the tax in the state our home minister had himself opened the pandora’s box. The issue of illegal coal mining is no secret and it has flourished in the state after the ban on rat-hole mining through the nexus of coal mine owners, the MDA bigwigs, bureaucracy level, and the state police,” he alleged.
“By making a statement subconsciously forgetting that his own party along with the NPP has the rights to levy taxes (empowered by law) from the thousands of coal trucks that pass out illegally every night. Right from the political masters (NPP+UDP), police, and bureaucrats, everybody has their own shares,” he said.
Alleging that it is an open secret that a cartel is being run by the NPP-led MDA government, Nongtraw said the cartel is maintained by a few surrendered cadres and an ex-police SOT namely Joey along with the high ranking police officials.
“NPP leader from Jaintia hills Nidamon chullet and Kynsai War are not new names into this cartel. The surrendered cadres share is Rs 1000 per truck and Rs 5000 per truck is the share of the CM and deputy CM and the home minister,” he said.
“The Home Minister should not forget about his predecessor and why was he removed from the post of Home minister fearing getting caught up. When one talks about things which are illegal he should state so if he has enough integrity within himself to understand things as legal or illegal,” he further stated.
Stating that the HNLC is a government in itself, the HNLC leader said the outfit has its own political department, finance department, home department, foreign department, and military department.
“This is our land and therefore nobody should remind nor interfere with our tax collections. If the MDA-led NPP govt can collect taxes from illegal coal supply then we stand firm upon our commitment to levy taxes,” he said.
“The government was always firm upon the HNLC and never greeted us with flowers nor sweets. Spitting venom against our council does not make the MDA government righteous at all,” he said.
Nongtraw further said that the people of Meghalaya are not blind to see the achievements of the MDA government especially in terms of corruption and financial mismanagement.
“The MDA govt is running all kinds of illegal activities and rampant corruption. It is not a government but a mere leadership of ‘psychopaths’,” he said.
The HNLC further alleged that the home minister of indulging in blame game tactics.
Nongtraw reminded that it was during the year 2004 that the IB (intelligence bureau) had offered the outfit to come forward for peace talks followed by the Governor of Meghalaya in 2014.
“Subsequently, we had also accepted the governor’s offer and exercised our wisdom and sincerity by declaring a unilateral ceasefire. But our gestures were overturned due to the negative interventions of the state police and along with the manipulation of the Government of Meghalaya behind its hidden agendas. The Ministry of Home affairs is waiting for reports from the political department regarding the peace talks but Lahkmen Rymbui seems to be unaware about it. He stated that the government of Meghalaya had no idea about the peace talks. But he had also mentioned that he did not want to divulge into it,” he said.
Nongtraw said there are no limits to resistance because it is our right to defend our land.
“We had spoken enough about peace and mutual co-existence but without any results. Even if we talk about peace or hatred we shall be considered the same as mentioned ‘criminals’.”
He said the HNLC will not succumb to the threats of the state government but “rather we would intensify and motivate our fighting spirits.”
“Looking back to history, Paiem Wickliffe syiem had sought asylum from Pakistan and he was rendered help. The HNLC, as a banned organization we are also trying to establish a government in exile into a foreign country,” he stated.