KSU protest against KHADC’s road project NOC turns ugly

Council staff manhandled  •FIR filed against miscreants 

KSU members at the KHADC office protesting issuance of NOC for the construction of Nongstoin-Wahkaji road on Thursday–UB

SHILLONG: The office of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) was witness to chaos and drama on Thursday with members of the KSU storming the building to “meet” the council chief PN Syiem to discuss the issue of granting of NOC for the Nongstoin-Wahkaji road project which the Union is opposing.
Amid protests outside the KHADC building by members of the KSU, things took an ugly turn, when “unidentified miscreants” vandalized the CEM’s office and even manhandled the staff and allegedly pulled the hair of a female employee.
The CEM at that time was not present in his chamber.
As protesters refused to leave the Council premises without meeting the CEM, Independent MDC, Banteidor Lyngdoh assured the delegation that the Union will be able to meet the CEM at an appropriate time.
Meanwhile, staff of the KHADC office told reporters that miscreants numbering over 40 entered the office with an intention to vandalize the Council property.
An opaque glass in the Secretary’s room was broken and a table turned upside down. Even the CEM’s room was not spared as the miscreants tore down the nameplate and broke the glass window of his chamber.
Meanwhile, condemning the incident, the KHADC chief  said, “We did not rush as far as issuing of the NOC is concerned and we have not issued any NOC as yet. Resorting to vandalism is not an option.”
“We have filed an FIR into the acts of vandalism and it is up to the police to investigate who are involved in the crime,” he added.
It is alleged that the miscreants came with an intention to close down the KHADC office.
Incidents of locking of the branch offices of the KHADC were also reported from Nongstoin and Mawkyrwat.
Speaking to media persons, the chairman of employment cell of the KSU, Lambok Marngar, said, “We oppose the grant of NOC for the road project as it is meant to facilitate uranium mining.”
Though the NOC does not cover the stretch till Mawthabah, it will open doors to mine uranium at Mawthabah which is only a few kilometers away from Wahkaji, the KSU argued.
The Union called for clarification on whether the road is meant to facilitate uranium mining.  “He (PN Syiem) has dashed the hopes of the indigenous people by granting the NOC for the road project,” Marngar said.
Stating that the Union has all along opposed the implementation of the road project, the KSU leader, however, clarified that the students’ body was not averse to developmental projects.
Reacting to a query on the damage caused to KHADC property during the protest, Marngar said that KSU members were not involved in manhandling or damaging the office of the CEM etc.
“We entered his chamber to meet him. I am not aware who is responsible (for the incidents),” he said hinting that it was the handiwork of unknown miscreants.
Interestingly, the CCTV camera installed at the entrance of the office was not operational.
Questions were also raised on the capability of the Enforcement Wing of the KHADC which failed to tackle the miscreants.
Our correspondent from Nongstoin adds: Some miscreants locked the branch office of the KHADC at Nongstoin at around 12-12:30 pm. However, police have seized the lock and security personnel have been deployed at the office. The KHADC office at Mawkyrwat was also put under lock and key.