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Mobile internet suspended in 4 Meghalaya districts from 6 PM today; details here

SHILLONG: The Meghalaya government, as an immediate response to the chaos and unrest that ensued today, reportedly to protest the killing of Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) general secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiewthe at the hands of police, has suspended the mobile internet services in the four districts of East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills, and Ri-Bhoi for 48 hours.

This order, notified under the provision of Section (5) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, shall be applicable from 6 PM today (August 15).

Issuing the order via a notification C.V.D. Diengdoh, the Secretary to the Home (Police) Department stated that “messaging systems like SMS and WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are likely to be used for transmission of information through pictures, videos, and text and have the potential to cause serious breakdown of law and order.”

Diengdoh further added that violation of  the mobile internet suspension will be punishable under Section 188 IPC and also under the relevant provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Thangkhiew, one of the founders of Meghalaya’s proscribed insurgent outfit Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), which claims to fight for the Khasi-Jaintia tribal community against the outsiders from the Indian mainland, died when his home in Shillong was raided by police early on Friday, police said.

However, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew’s family has countered the police narrative alleging that he was killed in cold blood by the police.

Meghalaya director general of police (DGP) R Chandranathan said that there was enough evidence to link the former HNLC leader to the two recent improvised explosive device (IED) blasts claimed by the outfit.

The last such blast suspected to be triggered by HNLC injured two people at Laitumkhrah on Tuesday.

In July, HNLC cadres triggered another blast at the barracks of a special police team at the Police Reserve in East Jaiñtia Hills district headquarters, injuring a policeman.

The Meghalaya police chief said that when the joint team led by East Jaiñtia Hills police chief Jagpal Singh Dhanoa and East Khasi Hills SP (superintendent of police) (Traffic) Shailendra Bamaniya entered Thangkhiew’s house, he resisted the police. He further alleged that the rebel leader had stabbed a constable and got injured in retaliatory fire.

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