SHILLONG, Aug 14 � Meghalaya police today defused a grenade planted underneath a flagpole of the banned Hyniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on the occasion of its 25th �Raising day.�
The incident occurred at Phot Ja-ud village in South West Khasi Hills, some 80 kms from here, after the outfit unfurled its flag and also attached the grenade. However, the police detected the strings attached near the flag pole and alerted the bomb squad stationed here at the State capital.
The bomb squad rushed to the spot and defused the grenade. �It could have killed many people, especially children if they played with the flag pole,� South West Khasi Hills District Superintendent of Police, Sylvester Nongtnger said.
The HNLC further placed a sign board at the site warning people not to pull down the flag or dismantle the signboard.
Police said that the flag was hoisted last night at about 1 am. The cadres of the outfit also fired three rounds from AK-47 rifles, as per account of the villagers in the area.
The HNLC together with six other militant organisations from the North East, including the ULFA, have called for a �general strike� from 1 am (Wednesday) to 5 pm, to boycott the Independence Day celebrations.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident three cadres of the newly floated Achik National United Front were gunned down by security forces in North Garo Hills district. One AK-47 rifle was recovered from the place of the incident.
Meanwhile, the district administration here has made elaborate arrangements for tomorrow�s Independence Day celebration to be held at the Polo Grounds.
The customary flag hoisting would be followed by a display of a �Giant Canvas� of the Meghalaya fine arts and craft society placed for the public to pen down their thoughts. Further, a public art demonstration, by the local artists and a football match between Meghalaya State Government officers and the media fraternity would round up the celebrations.