Office picketing call evokes tepid response

HSPDP to continue with boycott: Ardent
SHILLONG: The office picketing called by the HSPDP in protest against the High Court of Meghalaya ruling derecognizing the powers of the headmen failed to evoke much response in the capital city on the first day.
The HSPDP has, however, decided to continue with the office picketing on Thursday.
State government employees on Wednesday defied the office picketing call and attended their offices normally.
The Deputy Commissioner’s office also functioned normally with healthy attendance.
However, Central government offices including several branches of State Bank of India including the Secretariat Branch and post offices across the city remained closed throughout the day leading to harassment of the customers.
A State Government official expressed dissatisfaction over the closure of many Central government offices in the city and claimed that the Central government employees had found a reason to go on leave.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in different parts of the city with deployment of CRPF and local police personnel.
In view of the HSPDP’s week-long office picketing in all districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills, the State government has directed its employees to attend office and carry on with their normal duties besides warning of strict action against all unauthorized absence.
Meanwhile, the State government, in a statement issued on Wednesday, reiterated that it was firm in its commitment to maintain law and order at all costs and to ensure that the security of its citizens was not compromised in any way.
“Government employees are advised not to pay any heed to this unreasonable call (office picketing) and to come out as they would on any normal day and carry on with their daily activities without any fear or apprehension of reprisals,” the statement said.
The statement added that the government was alive to the issue and cited the passage of the Meghalaya Local Administration (Empowerment of Traditional Institutions, Traditional Bodies and Headmen in Governance and Public Delivery System) Ordinance, 2015, which seeks to provide a legal mandate to the association of traditional institutions in the Government developmental programmes and delivery of public services.
The State government has advised the district administrations to take all necessary measures to maintain law and public order at all costs and take stern action if any attempts are made by anyone to disrupt the smooth    functioning of government offices, banks etc., or to paralyze the administration or to cause any damage to government and private property, under the relevant provision of the law, including the Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order Acts.
‘Office picketing to continue’
The HSPDP on Wednesday said it would continue with the office picketing on Thursday since the government was yet to respond to their demands.
HSPDP vice president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit informed that the party will organise public meetings in the various district headquarters of Khasi and Jaintia Hills to educate people on the ruling of the High Court which had stripped the powers of the Rangbah Shnong.
Lauding the people for their support to the office picketing called by the party, Basaiawmoit urged the people to continue with their support to the movement launched by the HSPDP.

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