The HNLC has claimed responsibility for the IED blast at Star Cement factory in Lumshnong, East Jaintia Hills district yesterday night.
The HNLC said it carried out the blast as Star Cement company refused to pay tax to the outfit.
“The HNLC takes responsibility 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,” HNLC general secretary Saiñkupar Nongtraw said today.
Nongtraw also conveyed his sympathy to those who were injured in the explosion “as they were not the intended target”.
It may be mentioned that two persons who were workers of the cement company suffered minor injuries in the explosion in the factory of Star Cement yesterday night. Two rooms used by the workers were partially damaged due to the explosion.
According to police, the explosion occurred around 8:40 pm in the workers’ residential colony inside Star Cement premises at Lumshnong area.
Immediately, a team of police personnel led by East Jaintia Hills superintendent of police (SP) Deepak Kumar Palecha rushed to the spot to ascertain the exact cause of the explosion.
This is the second incident of explosion in Jaiñtia Hills after an explosion at Sookilo recently which was also claimed by HNLC.
Further reacting to the Star Cement blast, the HNLC said that any industrial unit or business house belonging to people from outside the State would have to pay tax to the outfit.
“If they refuse to comply, they will meet the same fate as that of Star Cement,” Nongtraw said.
The HNLC general secretary also said that the presence of industries in the State has not benefitted the State as coal used in these factories was procured from outside and employment was not given to local people.
“Our youth have to go and work in industries outside the State,” he said.
Nongtraw said that employees of Mawmluh Cherra Cements Limited (MCCL) in Sohra had to come out and stage protest as they were not paid of their salary for several months “while cement factories owned by people from outside the State were making profits as they can dictate the price of each cement bag.”
The HNLC leader also claimed that the outfit was ready to hit some other targets.
“It is of no use for the government to tell us to stop our terror activities. We have waited for many years for the peace initiatives but we were ignored by the government. Now we can no longer stop our activities as we understand that to achieve peace we have to fight first,” Nongtraw added.