HNLC threatens to target family members of Meghalaya Home Minister and Deputy CM

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In a major development, the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has threatened to target family members of Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui if the government continues to arrest ‘innocent youths’.

In a statement issued on Thursday, HNLC general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw has alleged many innocent youths have been arrested by the police department just because they were not able to arrest cadres of the outfit.

“If the MDA government does not stop making such arrests (of innocent youths), we would be compelled to do the same to the family members of Tynsong as well as the family members of Rymbui,” Nongtraw warned.

“These two ministers should have a serious thought as they should not forget that they will have to step down (from their positions) and again go for election campaigns in their respective constituencies – Pynursla and Nongtalang – that are areas which are easy for us to operate then you will understand that guns are more powerful than political power,” he stated.

This also came a day after deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong had stated that he was ready to step down if the HNLC had documentary evidence against the MDA government for allegedly indulging in illegal mining and transportation of coal.

Terming his (Tynsong) statement as “foolish claims”, Nongtraw said, “As we know Tynsong is a political chameleon and the people in the MDA government are a bunch of criminals. The state should not have been in (financial) crisis but because of the presence of such people, the revenue which is supposed to benefit the state instead is going to the pockets of few vested interests.”

The HNLC further stated that if the MDA government is corrupt free, it should have immediately ordered the arrest of the four persons involved in the illegal coal trade and pave way for a thorough investigation into the matter.

“But we know that they don’t have any intention to do that. If Tynsong is brave enough to step down from his chair, it would be better for him to pave way for a CBI inquiry into the illegal coal trade and let the truth come out,” Nongtraw said.

The outfit leader further alleged that the cartel to facilitate illegal mining and transportation of coal is not new in the state as it was first started during the tenure of former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong.

“During his time, Mukul had entrusted a SOT personnel identified as Jovi. However when he (Mukul) was no longer in power, he was left with no option but to expose such illegal activities in the media,” he said.

Alleging that the after the Congress regime was over, this cartel was taken over by the present ruling National People’s Party (NPP), Nongtraw said, “After the matter was raised by the UDP, the chief minister Conrad K Sangma had no option but to remove James K Sangma (his brother) as home minister and in his place appointed Lahkmen Rymbui from the UDP.”

He also named the four persons – Nidamon Chullet, Kynsai War, Bison Shylla and Tiew – as the main persons in the cartel as they are having a close connection with the ministers. “These people are taking care of the share (from illegal coal) of the CM, Dy CM and HM at Rs 5,000 per truck,” Nongtraw alleged.

“The political parties who are supporting the MDA government are getting Rs 2,000 as a share. They also have to pay Rs 3,000 to the SP and Rs 500 to the police station. The four persons and the police will just have to see the number of trucks at Lad Umsaw Damsite and at Byrnihat police station…,” he said.

With regards to Tynsong’s appeal that the HNLC should send its official communication to both the centre and the state government for peace talks, the HNLC leader however said that the outfit had already sent a letter to the Centre since 2004.

“We have also spoken to a minister of the MDA government with the knowledge of the chief minister and that is why it is not proper for us to send a letter again on this matter since the government is not taking any steps,” he said.