Shutdown brings normal life to a standstill in Meghalaya; The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asks the State Governments of the North East region to take all necessary steps to prevent the Maoist rebel groups; NSCN (IM) not to attend reconciliation meet; A
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  • According to reports, normal life came to a standstill in the eastern part of Meghalaya on May 14, 2012 during a 12-hour shutdown called by three organisations over the alleged enrolment of bogus voters in the state's electoral rolls. Almost all government establishments, including financial and educational institutions, remained closed in all the four district headquarters of East, West Khasi, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi. National Highways No. 40 and 44, the lifelines for landlocked Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and southern Assam, were also affected by the shutdown. 1
    Meanwhile, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked the State Governments of the North East region to take all necessary steps to prevent the Maoist rebel groups from establishing their roots in the region. However, the Centre would send additional a force to deal with Maoists only of it is felt necessary. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh informed the MHA that no local youth of the state joined the Maoists but sometimes, Maoist elements from Assam sneak into the state. The MHA has asked the Government of Arunachal Pradesh to deal with any Maoist element who manages to sneak into the state strongly. MHA is of the view that at present, the strength of the armed groups of the Maoists in the North East is not much and the State Police forces are fully capable of dealing with the situation. Recently, the Assam Police managed to bust a hideout of the Maoist rebels near Sadiya and killed four rebels. The Centre would consider sending additional forces to deal with Maoists only if is required. 2
    According to reports, the NSCN-IM has said that it has decided not to attend the reconciliation meeting to be held at the highest level from May 21, 2012 at Chiang Mai, Thailand, till a clarification is made on the recent political development involving the NSCN (Khole-Kitovi). A press note issued by Chief Principal Secretary, Samson Jajo of the NSCN-IM said the decision was taken at a joint council meeting of the steering Committee and Council of Kilonsers on May 14, 2012. The joint council meeting felt that the recent political development whereby the Khole-Kitovi group had intimated to the Government of India through the MHA Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh to seek settlement within the boundary of the so-called Nagaland state is a calculated-deliberate step to sabotage the hard earned 14 years negotiations being held at the highest level of the GoI and the NSCN. 3

    However, according to reports, eighty-four villages located on a remote stretch of the Assam-Meghalaya border have decided to desist any help to militants who frequent the area. The villages, mostly inhabited by the Khasi, Garo, Rabha and Jaintia communities, are frequented by cadres of militant outfits like the anti-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) for food and shelter while on their way to Meghalaya from Assam and from Meghalaya to Assam. Community elders of the villages met at a meeting in Kinan village on 16 May, 2012 and decided to stop all help to the cadres of the militant outfits. 4

    In another development, reports noted that the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) which had imposed a 72 hour statewide bandh till 6 pm of May 15, 2012 has decided to temporarily suspend its decision to continue with an economic blockade on the two National Highways in Manipur. The blockade was slated to begin from 6 pm of May 15 till May 19, 2012. The decision to temporarily suspend the economic blockade has been taken considering the problems which the public would face if the blockade was enforced, according to KSDC sources.5

    Nalbari police reportedly, recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from two different places of Nalbari district. The police in this connection arrested three police personnel and a militant of the pro-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB). 6

    In other developments, according to reports, representatives of Manipur’s six powerful student bodies on May 19, 2012 stormed the political party offices in Imphal over their alleged inaction into the mysterious deaths of Manipuri students in Bangalore and Chennai. The police managed to control the situation by detaining 17 student leaders including presidents of All Manipur Students’ Union Th Suresh and Kangleipak Students Association Y Pradip. The students were rounded up on their way to lock up the office of CPI Manipur unit at Irawat Bhavan after they stormed the offices of BJP at Keishampat, Congress at BT Road and MPP at Polo ground. 7