Blackmail may be too strong a word but the North East Petroleum Mazdoor Union (NEPMU) has once again threatened to cut Meghalaya off from its fuel supplies unless its members who were arrested by state police last month are released.
Last month, the union had threatened to strike after police arrested several members over alleged theft and/or adulteration of the fuel being delivered to the state. NEPMU, for its part, claimed that its personnel were being harassed by the Meghalaya police.
After talks between NEPMU and the state government, the threatened halt in supply was called off before it began.
Today, however, NEPMU was at it again, saying that it will halt the transportation of fuel to Meghalaya from Tuesday unless those who were arrested last month are released.
“Our members are becoming very agitated over the issue and have decided that they will not take any load of petroleum products in favour of Meghalaya from December 12 until they (those arrested) are released from jail,” NEPMU general secretary Ramen Das said in a letter to the Commissioner and Secretary of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.
The arrested persons have so far not received bail despite the efforts of their legal counsel in this regard, the letter added. This is “unnecessary harassment”, which the Meghalaya government had pledged to avoid during its negotiations with NEPMU last month, Das stated.