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Union skips Khasi National Awakening Day observance

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SHILLONG, April 4: The KSU on Thursday did not observe the scheduled “Khasi National Awakening Day” at Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills following a request from the district administration.
“We had a discussion with the district administration which requested us not to observe this day this year as there is election model code of conduct and also in view of the prevailing law and order situation. We decided to accept their request,” KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah told reporters.
He said the KSU’s Khliehriat Circle had initially met the deputy commissioner to seek information to observe the day and the latter told them the decision to grant permission rests solely on the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) given the polls.
Thabah said the leaders of the KSU’s Khliehriat Circle then met the CEO who said the election department has no problem.
“After this, the DC had given an assurance that he will issue necessary permission. But it was only a few days ago that our permission was cancelled due to election model code of conduct,” Thabah said.
He said no one should stop the students’ body from observing or celebrating the Khasi National Awakening Day with a bigger programme next year when there are no elections.
To a query, the KSU general secretary said if they had wanted, they could have organised the event in every village and locality.  “If we want, we can now go and observe the Khasi National Awakening Day in East Jaintia Hills,” Thabah said.
A high alert has been sounded across Khasi and Jaintia hills in view of the ‘volatile situation’ arising out of the recent killings of two persons at Ichamati, officials said.
Deputy Inspector General of Police DNR Marak had issued an alert to the superintendents of police of seven eastern range districts, including East Khasi Hills.
“There is a high likelihood that the NGOs may resort to more agitations and target police stations/police vehicles, government properties/buildings and vehicles and also target non-tribals,” Marak stated in an order issued on Wednesday.
He said the KSU observes April 4 as the Khasi National Awakening Day but permission was denied for the same at Khliehriat.
Asking the SPs to take precautionary measures such as advising DCs to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC, Marak had stated that the NGOs “may resort” to impromptu agitation on Thursday in any of the district headquarters.
“You are, therefore, directed to take all necessary precautions to prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the day and the recent incidents whereby they may attempt to target government installations and non-tribals under your jurisdiction,” he had said.
On April 4, 1829, the legendary Khasi freedom fighter U Tirot Sing Syiem had raised the battle cry against invading British forces but he was eventually captured and defeated. He died in Dhaka on July 17, 1835.

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