The Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has claimed responsibility for the IED blast at Star Cement factory at East Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya on Saturday night.

“The HNLC is responsible for the IED blast in the staff quarter of Star cement. The reason was the refusal of payment of tax by the owner of the cement factory,” Saiñkupar Nongtraw, general secretary of HNLC said on Sunday.

Also read: Meghalaya: One hurt in explosion at Star Cement factory in East Jaiñtia Hills

The HNLC further threatened to carry out more such blasts in the near future in different places, which they have listed out.

“The style of working of the HNLC has changed from now onwards. There are places that we planned to further blast. Even if the Government or police department acts tough, they would not be able to stop us,” Nongtraw stated.

Stating that it would be futile for the Government to urge the HNLC to abjure violence, Nongtraw said that for several years the outfit has shown restrain and patience and avoided dreadful activities for peace.

“Even if the Government wants peace, the HNLC would not stop its reign of terror until and unless an agreement is reached. We have not violated any agreement because there is no agreement. For 17 long years, our wait was in vain, and now we realised that if we want peace, we have to first engage in a battle,” Nongtraw asserted.

“Any factory or non-tribal traders have to pay tax to the HNLC. Those who refuse will meet the same fate as Star Cement,” Saiñkupar Nongtraw further added.

Nongtraw alleged that the existence of factories from outside has benefitted the people of the State.

“Even coal being produced in the state is not being bought by them. They instead buy coal from outside the State. They also hire people from outside, whereas locals are jobless,” he said.

The HNLC further criticised the Meghalaya Government for allegedly not being able to run the Mawmluh Cherra Cement Limited (MCCL).

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“This shows the weakness of the Government. The employees of the MCCL are now on the streets. Their demands for the release of withstanding salaries are not being fulfilled, whereas several private-owned cement factories from outside the state are functioning well. They sell their product at an exorbitant price,” Nongtraw further said.

The HNLC, expressing sympathy for those injured in the blast saying, “the outfit did not mean to cause injury or kill people.”

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