IED planted at Meghalaya Coke: HNLC

Act appears to be outcome of rivalry

JOWAI/ SHILLONG: The banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has owned responsibility for planting an improvised explosive device (IED) weighing approximately 7 kg which was recovered from the premises of the under-construction Meghalaya Coke.
East Jaintia Hills SP Vivekanand Singh said the IED was recovered on January 16 from the premises of the Meghalaya Coke at Bther village.
He said that the IED is suspected to have been planted in the intervening night of January 15 and 16. The guard on duty had spotted some electric wires around 6 am on January 16 and the information was given to police.
On receipt of information, the team from Umpleng AD Camp went to the site and evacuated the area. Subsequently the bomb squad from Police Headquarters, Shillong destroyed the IED in-situ.
The K-9 Unit thereafter searched the entire area to look for evidence.
Singh said that preliminary investigation revealed that gelatin, which is commonly used for limestone mining, was used as explosive in the IED.
The splinters have been seized and are being sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for expert opinion.
The High Court of Meghalaya had on November 22 last restrained setting up of the coke oven plant acting on a writ petition filed by one Dame Wanhi Rymbai and others.
However, the court subsequently vacated the stay order and the matter was disposed of on January 15. “Therefore, prima facie, the act appears to be an outcome of this rivalry and a handiwork of local miscreants”, Singh said.
A case has been registered in this regard at Khliehriat Police Station and the matter is being investigated from all angles.
The HNLC, however, said it had planted the bomb as it was unhappy with developments over the coke plant.
“After seeing in the media reports, we verified that the opposition of the three localities and the NGOs is because of the Daloi of Elaka Sutnga and the Rangbah Shnong issuing NOC to the coke factory even after the High Court had intervened”, HNLC publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw stated in a statement.
He said although the HNLC had planted the IED, later the outfit decided not to explode it.
“We decided not to explode the IED due to the presence of local indigenous people. The members of the outfit also decided not to attack the security of the factory,” Nongtraw, who is also the outfit’s general secretary, said.
“The village is only a market where illegal activities, like betting, are taking place. The people who are residing in this place would chase the members of the NGOs if they come to check the labour or trading license. The Daloi of Elaka Sutnga also prevented the members of the NGOs to enter the areas”, Nongtraw said.

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