Meghalaya Northeast

Meghalaya MLAs Receive Extortion Demand From Militants

The elected representatives of Meghalaya Assembly have complained to police after receiving extortion demands from a local insurgent group.

This has been confirmed by the Meghalaya police on Thursday.

Police said the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) sent extortion demands of Rs 10 lakh each to a section of legislators as well as Members of District Councils (MDCs).

According to police, the insurgent group used a Bangladeshi phone number to send extortion messages via WhatsApp to some of the elected representatives.

The insurgent group, which is believed to have bases in neighbouring Bangladesh.

“We have received a complaint from some of the legislators. We are investigating the case. If they are willing, we are ready to give them necessary protection,” said a police official.

The insurgent group warned the legislators and the MDCs that they would face dire consequences if they approached the police seeking help or protection.

Speaking to media persons, Titosstarwell Chyne, Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hilla Autonomous District Council said he had no idea about the extremist groups serving the demands. He said he had not received any complaints from his colleagues.

On August 13, the Meghalaya police had gunned down a surrendered HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew in an alleged fake encounter right at his Shillong residence. The incident had triggered sporadic incidents of arson and vandalism in the hill station.

On the other hand, Meghalaya police issued a statement claiming that they had unearthed Thangkhiew’s role in the extortion demands received by the MDCs and prominent businessmen. The police had also claimed that money generated through extortions was used in triggering bomb blasts at the behest of the HNLC.

Former Meghalaya chief minister Dr. Mukul Sangma raised the issue that some of the legislators are receiving extortion demands from insurgent groups.

“Earlier, businessmen and legislators have received extortion demand from various insurgent groups. Extortion was business through which the insurgent groups and their linkman made money,” a source added.

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