A lower court today remanded the East Khasi Hills district president of the Hynñiewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), Bless Dkhar to three more days of police custody.
Dkhar was arrested by police on October 30 after a suo-moto case was registered by police against him following a viral video in which he was heard admitting to have received Rs 1500 from each overloaded truck to facilitate such trucks to pass through Umiam dam bridge.
On October 31, Dkhar was produced before the court, which remanded him to three days police custody.
Police apparently acted based on an audio recording of Dkhar in which he can be heard talking to a trader about letting the latter’s truck to pass through the Damsite-Umiam bridge route.
The recording suggests that Dkhar was negotiating rates per truck, whether they were private vehicles or belonging to the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The video has caused a hue and cry with the majority of the people condemning NGOs for extorting money in the name of serving the people.
Many people also said that extortion by NGOs has led to price rise in the markets. They also said that the opposition by NGOs to railway lines in the State is due to the fact that they stand to lose extortion money if goods trains come to the State.
Questions were also raised on the complicity of police in the movement of overloaded trucks. Many people said that the HNYF leader would not be able to facilitate the movement of such trucks without the involvement of police in Ri-Bhoi district.
It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya High Court had in May 2022 directed the State to ban vehicles carrying loads of more than 10 metric tons on the Umiam bridge following the suggestion that the bridge may not be able to bear the existing traffic load.