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Meghalaya

Meghalaya Speaker dies, 3 days mourning announced

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Meghalaya Assembly Speaker and former Chief Minister Donkupar Roy passed away on Sunday at the Medanta hospital in Gurugram after multi-organ failure, a party leader said. He was 64.
 
The economist-turned-politician, who was an acute diabetic, was flown in an air ambulance to New Delhi on July 18, his close aide said.
 
The body of Roy, who was President of United Democratic Party (UDP), a key partner in the National People's Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, will be flown back to the state on Monday morning for his last rites.
 
The Meghalaya government has declared three days of state mourning and a state holiday on the day of funeral as mark of respect to Roy, a seven-time legislator.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Tathagata Roy, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, and Meghalaya's Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma have condoled the sudden demise of Roy.
 
"Passionate about Meghalaya's progress, he served the state with great diligence and helped transform many lives. Condolences to his family and supporters," Modi said in a tweet.
 
Roy was first elected to the Meghalaya Assembly from Shella constituency, bordering Bangladesh, as an Independent MLA on 1988 with the ardent support of the then Alliance Reconstruction of Meghalaya State, a political body of the influential Khasi Students' Union.
 
He was first appointed as Minister in the B. B. Lyngdoh ministry and then served in various capacities in the state.
 
After a fractured mandate in the 2008 Assembly elections, Roy was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 19, 2018 but his government was dismissed exactly one year later and the state put under President's Rule.
 
IANS
 

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Minor earthquake shakes East Garo Hills region of Meghalaya

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, shook the East Garo Hills region of Meghalaya this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 25.8°N and longitude 90.8°E, occurred at 2000 hours at  a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
NNN
 
 
 
 

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Will discuss with party leaders on snapping ties with BJP: Meghalaya CM

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Describing the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha as "unfortunate", Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday said he will discuss with his National People's Party (NPP) leaders to take a call on whether to snap ties with the BJP.
 
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Citizenship Bill that seeks to remove hurdles in eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan from getting Indian citizenship despite opposition by political parties.
 
"Well, it is very unfortunate that this Bill has been passed as this is something which we have opposed vehemently," Sangma told journalists.
 
Sangma, who also heads the NPP, said the Meghalaya Cabinet have passed a resolution opposing any kind of implementation of this Bill.
 
Asked if the NPP will snap ties with the NDA, the Chief Minister said: "We will see about that and will discuss with all party leaders. As you are aware, our party is present in almost five North Eastern states. Therefore, I will need to call all the party leaders and take a call on this." 
 
IANS
 

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Trapped Meghalaya miners untraced even as Odisha firefighters pump out water

 
Meghalaya coal miners: Rescue efforts continue
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescuers and Odisha firefighters on Tuesday began dewatering a coal mine in their bid to rescue 15 coal miners trapped in it in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, an official said.
 
The fate of the miners, who are trapped inside the flooded coalmine in Ksan village, about 130 from Meghalaya's capital Shillong for the last 20 days, still remains unknown.
 
The dewatering of the coal mine resumed nine days after the district administration temporarily suspended the pumping out of the water on Saturday last week after the two 25 horsepower pumps, which were pressed into service, became ineffective.
 
"The Odisha firemen have pumped out water from an abandoned coal mine located about 500 metres of the main shaft, where the 15 miners are trapped," rescue operations spokesperson R Susngi, said.
 
"Indian Navy divers along with the NRDF men went down inside the main shaft at 4:30 pm to check the water level under the main shaft and reported that the water level did not recede at all," he said.
 
Susngi said the Odisha firefighters will continue dewatering the coal mine on Wednesday to determine the water level at the main shaft.
 
On Monday, Indian Navy divers had located a wooden structure, coal lying beneath and one rathole with coal at its mouth inside the flooded mine. They had requested for dewatering the flooded mine so that the divers could dive to the bottom of the 370-feet-coal pit.
 
"We are hopeful that we can drain out more water after high-capacity submersible pumps - that can pump out 500 gallon of water per minute - of Coal India Limited has reached the site. High-capacity pumps of Kirloskar Brothers Limited are also expected to reach the site by Wednesday," Susngi said.
 
The accident inside the illegal coal pit on December 13 was of significance, especially because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in the state effective April 17, 2014.
 
Chief Minster Conrad Sangma had promised that "appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against the people who are involved in the illegal mining and this is not acceptable to us."
 
IANS
 

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No news of trapped miners as Navy, NDRF men enter coal pit in Meghalaya

 
Navy, NDRF divers join search for trapped miners in Meghalaya
The Indian Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Sunday began their operation to rescue 15 miners trapped inside a flooded illegal coal pit for 18 days in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, but there was no news as yet of the miners.
 
Lieutenant Commander Santosh Khetwal led a team of six divers , including five from the Navy and one from NDRF and assessed the depth of the water in the illegal coal mine. 
 
Two Naval divers dived about 80 feet inside the main shaft of the flooded coal pit, but couldn't locate any of the trapped miners. 
 
The divers spent more than two hours inside the pit in an inflatable raft with all necessary equipment. 
 
"They dived about 80 feet inside the main shaft of the coal pit but they couldn't locate anything due to high accumulation of water in the pit," Assistant Commandant NDRF, Santosh Kumar Singh told IANS.
 
"We have decided to resume pumping of water from the pit on Monday morning with 100 horsepower pumps from Odisha fire services. Moreover, we have decided that Navy and NDRF divers will simultaneously dive inside during the water extraction so that we can try to get to the bottom of the pit," he said.
 
Singh said that the Navy will also use the underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) on Monday's rescue operation. 
 
Noting that the ultimate aim of the rescuers is to evacuate the trapped miners, Singh said, "Rescuers never lose hope, as we work to rescue them." 
 
Coal India Limited (CIL) continued to survey the abandoned coal mines located at the adjacent areas of the mining tragedy site.
 
"We have surveyed the abandoned mines. We will soon get one of the six submersible high-capacity equipment that can dewater 500 gallon per minute," A.K. Bharali, General Manager of CIL, Kolkata said. 
 
Crew members of Odisha Fire Services have placed their 100 horsepower pumps at the tragedy site to dewater the pit from Monday morning. 
 
The district administration has temporarily suspended pumping out water from the coal pit since December after the two 25 horsepower pumps became ineffective due to continuous operations. 
 
Meghalaya police have arrested Jrin alias Krip Chulet, the owner of the coal mine, from Narwan village. Police said that a hunt is on for more people including the manager of the illegal coal mine. 
 
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and sought immediate Central support to rescue the trapped miners. 
 
Sangma had also promised that "appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against those involved in the illegal mining".
 
IANS
 

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Mining experts, firefighters, Navy join rescue operation in Meghalaya

 
Rescue operation underway at coal mine in East Jaintia Hills
A team of officials from Coal India Limited (CIL) on Saturday conducted a preliminary investigation on how to dewater an illegal 370-ft coal pit to rescue 15 miners trapped inside an illegal coal mine for 16 days now.
 
A 21-member team of fire fighters from Odisha, which was airlifted by Indian Air Force's C-130J Super Hercules from Bhubaneswar to the Guwahati airport, are proceeding towards the site at Ksan village in East Jaintia Hills district.
 
A 15-member diving team of the Indian Navy will also be joining the rescue operation on Saturday.
 
A 10-member CIL team, including four surveyors and six technical engineers, arrived at the site and conducted a preliminary inspection of the mining area.
 
"We first need to survey the entire mining area before pumping out the water from the pit. Our eight pumps of 100 HP each and other equipment are on the way," said General Manager of CIL's Northeastern Coalfields J Borah.
 
"The Odhisha firefighters were requisitioned by National Disaster Management Authority. They are on the way with several high-tech equipment, including 10 high-power pumps to be used in search and rescue operations," said district police chief of East Jaintia Hills Sylvester Nongtnger.
 
N. Mahapatra of Kirloskar Brothers' Limited said the team will submit its reports and recommendation to the district administration on how to dewater the pit.
 
"We require a good number of powerful pumps to suck out the water and this has been informed to our senior officials," Mahapatra told IANS.
 
Meanwhile, a six-member team of the opposition Congress in Meghalaya assembly on Friday visited the site and found several lacunae in the arrangements made by the district administration.
 
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The legislators led by Ampareen Lyngdoh expressed their surprise over district magistrate F. M. Dopth going on leave in spite of the tragedy of such a scale.
 
"Precious lives are at stake but the officer in-charge of the rescue operations has been allowed to go on leave," she said, demanding that the district magistrate be immediately recalled.
 
Lyngdoh said the state government should task a senior-level officer with the rescue operations.
 
"A senior-level officer at the level of Commissioner and Secretary should be put in charge of the entire rescue operations and to coordinate with the national and state teams," she said.
 
They also demanded that an Inspector General of Police level officer should be deputed at the site to coordinate among the NDRF, SDRF and the state police. The legislators also said that a small medical team should be at hand 24x7.
 
The district administration has temporarily suspended pumping of water from the coal pit since December 24. An NDRF rescuer team dived inside the main shaft of the coal pit, but could not locate any of the miners.
 
"Our men dived this morning to locate the trapped miners, but could not find any of them. There is nothing in the main shaft of the coal pit. We have used all our equipment with us, including SONAR, to find out if any of the miners is trapped in the main shaft," said NDRF Assistant Commandant Santosh Kumar Singh.
 
Asked if the rescuers have lost hope, Singh said, "Rescuers never lose hope. We are all putting our best efforts to rescue them."
 
On Thursday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and sought immediate Central support to evacuate the trapped miners.
 
The accident inside the coal pit on December 13 morning occurred despite the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordering an interim ban on 'rat-hole' coal mining in the state from 2014.
 
Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining procedure, commonly known as "rat hole mining".
 
IANS
 

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Additional NDRF team rushed to Meghalaya to rescue miners

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The Central government on Friday rushed an additional National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team to Meghalaya to assist the state in evacuating 15 miners who are trapped inside an illegal coal mine for 16 days now.
 
Coal India Limited (CIL) officials have rushed to the site in remote Ksan area in East Jaintia Hills district. A two-member team from Kirloskar Brothers' Limited has already reached the site.
 
Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said a C-130J Super Hercules has been tasked to airlift NDRF rescuers from Bhubaneswar to Guwahati on Friday.
 
"We have been to the mining site on Thursday and made preliminary assessment along with the NDRF team. We have discussed plans and strategies with the NDRF and State administration how to dewater from the pit," N. Mahapatra of Kirloskar Brothers' Limited, told IANS.
 
"We require a good number of powerful pumps to suck out the water and this has been informed to our senior officials," he said.
 
CIL Director Technical Binay Dayal, who arrived in Shillong on Thursday and held discussions with district authorities, said that the first task is to try to get the map of the illegal coal mine.
 
"Our logistics and technical team are on the way to the mining site. We are hopeful that our powerful pumps reach the site soon. We have been told that several other agencies would also provide necessary assistance," he said.
 
The district administration has temporarily suspended pumping of water from the coal pit since December 24. However, the NDRF rescuers team dived inside the main shaft of the coal pit but could not locate any of the miners.
 
"The rescue operation is still on and our divers dived yesterday (Thursday) to locate the trapped miners but could not locate any of them. There is nothing in the main shaft of the coal pit. We have used all our equipment with us including SONAR to find out if any of the miners are trapped in the main shaft," NDRF Assistant Commandant Santosh Kumar Singh, told IANS.
 
Asked if the rescuers have lost hope to evacuate the trapped miners over ground, Singh said, "Rescuers never lose hope. We are all putting our best efforts to rescue them."
 
However, the relatives of the trapped miners are losing hope and are praying for a miracle.
 
IANS
 

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Rescue work on to save trapped miners in Meghalaya

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The Meghalaya government on Thursday said it will not call off the rescue operation to evacuate the 15 miners trapped inside a coal pit for the last 15 days in this remote Ksan mining area in East Jaintia Hills district.
 
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said Coal India Limited and Kirloskar Brothers' Limited have offered their support to draw out the water from the 370-ft coal pit so that the rescuers can locate the trapped miners. 
 
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official, who is supervising the rescue operations, said that rescue team comprising NDRF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are waiting for the 100 horsepower machines each to be deployed at the site.
 
Education Minister Lakhkmen Rymbui and Disaster Management Minister, Kyrmen Shylla also visited the accident site and took stock of the ground situation.
 
The ministers accompanied by district police chief Sylvester Nongtnger also interacted with the rescuers besides family members of the trapped miners.
 
"We are expecting that the Coal India Limited (CIL) will airlift their water pumps to the accident site by tomorrow (Friday). Their (CIL) team of engineers and surveyors have arrived in the state and are meeting the government officials," Sangma told IANS.
 
"The main challenge that the state is facing now is how to get the logistics. Nonetheless, we are in touch with the central government and we have been assured of all their support," the Chief Minister said.
 
The district administration has temporarily suspended pumping of water from the coal pit since December 24.
 
NDRF rescuers team dived inside the main shaft of the coal pit but could not locate any of the miners.
 
"There is nothing in the main shaft of the coal pit. We have used all our equipment with us including SONAR to find out if any of the miners are trapped in the main shaft," Assistant Commandant NDRF, Santosh Kumar Singh, told IANS.
 
"There is no sign of receding or increasing of the water level (in the pit). We didn't even find anyone floating on the water surface. We have analysed the oxygen permissible on the surface of the water and the quality of the water. The water is stagnated for the last two three days," he said.
 
Asked if the rescuers have lost hope to evacuate the trapped miners over ground, Singh said, "Rescuers never lose hope. We are all putting our best efforts to rescue them. We are waiting for the desired pumps to be in place and the state government is doing its best with all its resources. Therefore, we are very hopeful."
 
However, the relatives of the trapped miners are losing hope and are expecting a miracle to occur.
 
"It has been fifteen days since December 13 when they got trapped inside the pit without air. If God is willing, they may come back alive," said Adil Hussain, who was camping at the mining site seeing the rescuers doing whatever they can to bring the miners out.
 
IANS

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Trapped Meghalaya miners: Rahul blames Modi, Rijiju hits back

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While 15 miners continue to remain trapped in a flooded coal mine in Meghalaya for a fortnight now, the issue on Wednesday led to a political slugfest with Rahul Gandhi targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre's ruling BJP accusing the Congress President of politicising a tragedy.
 
Slamming Modi for not offering necessary help to rescue the trapped miners, Gandhi took to Twitter urging the Prime Minister to save the miners. 
 
"15 miners have been struggling for air in a flooded coal mine for two weeks. Meanwhile, Prime Minister struts about on Bogibeel Bridge posing for cameras," tweeted Gandhi referring to Modi on Tuesday inaugurating a bridge in Assam.
 
"His government refuses to organise high pressure pumps for the rescue. Prime Minister please save the miners," added Gandhi tagging a media report stating that the rescue efforts were hampered by lack of effective equipment.
 
Replying to Gandhi's tweet, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju blamed the negligence of the previous Congress government for the tragedy. 
 
"No politics on tragedy please, Rahul Gandhi. We have been helping the state government with all possible means. But the unsafe illegal mining activities were due to the negligence of the previous Congress government," said Rijiju referring to the Congress which ruled the state before the Conrad Sangma-led National People's Party came to power in March 2018. 
 
The miners have been trapped in the flooded coal pit in East Jaintia Hills district since December 13. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been struggling to rescue them but the surging water level inside the 370-feet pit has been hampering the rescue efforts.
 
The NDRF has used a sonar system and an underwater camera to detect the trapped miners. However, the system failed to locate any of those trapped in the main well due to poor visibility.
 
IANS
 

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Efforts to save 13 miners trapped in Meghalaya coal pit halted at nightfall

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The operation to rescue 13 miners trapped inside a coal pit filled with water in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district was called off for the day, with officials again saying on Friday that the chances of their survival were bleak.
 
The NDRF officials called off the rescue operation for the day due to darkness. They had earlier said the miners' survival chances were low. 
 
Residents of Lumthari village, 130 km from Shillong, said after the accident five miners somehow managed to escape as water gushed inside the 370-feet coal pit. 
 
"The matter came to light only after the five miners managed to come out of the coal pit and alerted others about the accident," the villagers told IANS.
 
Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge Western Range, A.R. Mawthoh and Sylvester Nongtnger, the police chief of East Jaintia Hills, visited the accident site and monitored the rescue operation.
 
"We are making all efforts to rescue the trapped miners from the coal pit. We are pumping the water out of the pit with the help of generators but the water level has not receded," Nongtnger told journalists, 
 
He said the actual number of coal miners trapped inside the pit could not be ascertained.
 
He said the police have launched a manhunt to arrest James Sukhlain, the coal mine owner, who is now on the run, and others.
 
"We have registered a case against them for violating NGT order banning coal mining," Nongtnger said.
 
A team of 72 members from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 23 members from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and five members of the Fire and Emergency service were deployed to rescue the trapped miners.
 
The accident inside the coal pit on Thursday was of significance, especially because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in the state from April 17, 2014.
 
In a statement, Chief Minster Conrad Sangma promised that "appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against the people who are involved in the illegal mining and this is not acceptable to us."
 
He said the NDRF as well as the SDRF are doing all they can to save the trapped miners.
 
Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known as "rat hole mining".
 
IANS
 

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RTI activist brutally assaulted in coal-belt area in Meghalaya

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Meghalaya women's rights activist, Agnes Kharshiing, and her two companions were brutally assaulted in a coal belt area in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday.
 
Medical officials at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) said that Kharshiing is in a critical condition with cut injuries on her skull bone.
 
Her companion Amita Sangma also suffered severe injuries besides their driver E Kurbah, who is also a para legal volunteer. Both are admitted in NEIGRIHMS
 
"A group of 30-40 people, including women who are mostly dealing with coal trade, attacked us at Lum Sohshrew area around the coal depots after Kharshiing went and lodged a complaint at the Lad Rymbai police station on the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the district," Kurbah said.
 
The NGT had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students' Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in the Jaintia Hills.
 
"We were waylaid by people in three to four vehicles and they later dragged us out of the vehicle. They snatched away our mobile phones. They kicked and punched us and Kharshiing was hit by a log from behind. It was a scary incident. I managed to escape from the scene after pleading with the attackers to leave me alone. I informed police personnel at Lad Jowai," Kurbah said.
 
R Chandranathan, who took over as Meghalaya police chief on Thursday, told IANS that he has directed the local police to register a case and bring the perpetrators to book.
 
"A police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police will investigate the incident," Chandranathan said.
 
The attack on Kharshiing, who is also the chairperson of Civil Society Women's Organisation, an influential women's group, was the second attack on a social activist in East Jaintia Hills district.
 
On March 19 this year, RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw, who was the president of the Jaintia Youth Federation was attacked and found murdered in Khliehriat, the district headquarters of East Jaintia Hills.
 
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma strongly condemned the incident of attack on Kharshiing and her team.
 
"We have issued necessary directions to the police and district administration to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack. Civil society plays an important role in a democratic system as they are instrumental in highlighting the concerns of the people," Sangma said in a statement.
 
"Violence in any form will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to justice," the statement said.
 
IANS
 

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Congress' Meghalaya legislator quits assembly, party

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Veteran Congress leader Martin Danggo, who quit as member of the Meghalaya assembly on Thursday night, resigned from the primary membership of the Congress on Friday to join the ruling National People's Party (NPP).
 
In his resignation letter to state Congress president Celestine Lyngdoh, Danggo said that he had resigned as member of the assembly and the party "as per the desire of my (danggo) people".\
 
Home Minister James Sangma said that Danggo, who had been elected to the assembly five consecutive times from Ranikor assembly constituency, will be joining the NPP and seeking re-election from the constituency.
 
On June 12, several Congress members from South West Khasi Hills district's Ranikor block resigned en masse and joined the ruling NPP in the presence of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
 
The resignations came in wake of the refusal of the previous Congress government headed by Mukul Sangma, now the Leader of Opposition, to the local demand to upgrade the Ranikor community and rural development block to a sub-division.
 
Conrad Sangma, who attended a meeting at Ranikor, said the demand of the people for creation of a sub-division was "genuine" assured his government would fulfil it at the earliest.
 
Danggo, who hosted the public meeting on behalf of the people of Ranikor, expressed his confidence in Conrad Sangma and said that he foresees a brighter future for Meghalaya under his leadership.
 
Following Danggo's resignation, the opposition's strength has reduced to 20 in the 60-member assembly.
 
IANS
 
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Curfew to be relaxed in Shillong on Wednesday, Congress seeks judicial probe

 
Army conducts flag march in Shillong
 
 
Authorities here on Tuesday decided to briefly relax the curfew in the state capital on Wednesday while internet on mobile telephones remained restricted even as the situation was showing steady improvement.
 
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress demanded setting up of a judicial inquiry into the issue of shifting the Sikh inhabitants from Sweepers Lane, a day after the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government decided to constitute a high level committee to find out a permanent solution to the long-pending issue.
 
A delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee from Amritsar also opposed the move of the Meghalaya government to re-locate the Sikhs to other parts of the city.
 
"We have decided not to relax the curfew on Tuesday though the situation in the area is slowly limping back to normalcy. We are keeping a close watch on the situation," Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district P.S. Dkhar told IANS.
 
However, some relaxation will be made on Wednesday, he added.
 
Curfew will be relaxed in 13 tension-hit areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House located near Iewduh, one of the busiest markets in the northeastern region, from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, and then be reimposed, said Dkhar.
 
Night curfew in the Shillong Agglomeration will be relaxed from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. with effect from Wednesday.
 
Two Army columns carried out a third flag march here on Tuesday to help the district administration to bring the situation under control. 
 
Curfew was imposed in some areas on June 1 following violence involving members of the Punjabi and indigenous Khasi communities.
 
Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma said the government has "failed" to sustain peace in the state and demanded setting up of a judicial inquiry into the issue of shifting the Sikh inhabitants from Sweepers Lane, known to the local people as Them Metor and located in the commercial area of Shillong near Iewduh, one of the busiest markets in the northeastern states. 
 
For more than two decades, several indigenous Khasi civil society groups have demanded from the Meghalaya to re-locate Sikh residents, living there since British times, from Sweepers Lane as most of them are "illegal settlers".
 
"It is a sad thing that not even completing three months, they (MDA) have messed up everything. Today the name and fame of the state that we have built over the years and put the state among the top tourist destinations, has been adversely affected and this has derail the whole momentum of growth," said the former Chief Minister.
 
Meanwhile, the SGPC delegation, led by Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, met Home Minister James Sangma and opposed the move of the Meghalaya government to re-locate the Sikhs residing in Sweepers Lane.
 
"They (Sikh) have been staying there (Sweepers Lane) for 180 years. Therefore, the question of re-locating them from the existing location is not acceptable to us. We would like the government to propose an alternative solution to it.
 
"There are no illegal settlers in the area. They have been settling for centuries.. Sikhs are everywhere in the world, they have never been relocated whether in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq. In fact, the Sikh community are scattered all over the world," he said.
 
Singh said that the Sikh community living all over the world are ready to fund for construction of multi-storied buildings in the existing location if the Government gives them permission.
 
"We had in fact requested the Home Minister to allow them to construct beautiful apartments for the Sikhs here. So the question of the Sweeper's Colony of being unhygienic will not remain," he said.
 
On Monday, the Meghalaya government constituted a high level committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong to examine all relevant records and documents relating to the relocation of the Sweeper Colony, Sweeper Lane, Mawlong Haat and to recommend feasible solutions.
 
IANS
 
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No relaxation in curfew in Shillong

An indefinite curfew was imposed in areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House in Shillong on Friday.  (Photo: IANS)
An indefinite curfew was imposed in areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House in Shillong on Friday. (Photo: IANS)
Curfew continued on Tuesday in violence-hit areas in the Meghalaya capital Shillong while internet on mobile telephones was restricted even as the situation was showing steady improvement.
 
"For today (Tuesday) we have decided not to relax the curfew even as the situation in the area is slowly limping back to normalcy. We are keeping a close watch on the situation," Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district P.S. Dkhar told IANS.
 
"The Army is still on standby. Fifteen companies of Central Armed Police Force have been deployed and another 10 companies are on way to Shillong to assist the police in maintaining law and order," a police officer said.
 
Dkhar said on Monday that night curfew will continue all over the Shillong city from Monday 4 p.m to Tuesday 5 a.m., fearing that the trouble may spread to other parts of the city.
 
The illegal sale of petrol and diesel has also been banned.
 
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the government had decided to set up a high-level committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong to find a permanent solution to the long pending issue of relocation of the sweeper colony.
 
On June 1, the District Magistrate imposed curfew in some areas following violence involving members of the Punjabi and tribal Khasi communities.
 
Curfew was relaxed for seven hours from 8 a.m. on Sunday but mobs continued to throw stones at security forces, forcing them to fire tear gas.
 
IANS
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Shillong violence: Centre deploys additional paramilitary forces

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As Meghalaya's capital Shillong remained affected for the fourth day with fresh violence late on Sunday, the Union Home Ministry approved deployment of 10 additional paramilitary forces in the tension-hit areas, Ministry sources said on Monday.
 
The Ministry took the decision considering the Meghalaya government's demand for the deployment of additional central paramilitary forces.
 
"Eight additional companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and two of Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been sent to Shillong to assist the state police in managing law and order situation. At least 10 CRPF companies are already deployed there," said a source. 
 
Home Ministry officials said the Central government is in touch with the state government and closely monitoring the situation in Shillong where authorities on Monday extended curfew following more violence on Sunday night, with mobs pelting the security forces with stones. 
 
On June 1, the District Magistrate imposed curfew in areas under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House in view of the breakdown of law and order in Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas following the May 31 clash.
 
The clash took place after an altercation between a driver of the Khasi community employed with the Shillong Public Transport Service and some Punjabi women in Theme lew Mawlong, a Punjabi settlement in Shillong with around 350 households. 
 
The curfew was relaxed for seven hours from 8 a.m. on Sunday and mobs continued to throw stones at security forces forcing the police to fire tear gas shells.
 
IANS
 
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Situation tense in Shillong, curfew from 4 p.m.

An indefinite curfew was imposed in areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House in Shillong on Friday.  (Photo: IANS)
An indefinite curfew was imposed in areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House in Shillong on Friday. (Photo: IANS)
The authorities on Monday extended curfew in the Meghalaya capital as violence continued in tension-hit areas the previous night with mobs indulging in stone-pelting on security forces for the last four days.
 
"Curfew has been imposed from 4 p.m. on Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday in Shillong as there is likelihood that breach of peace may spread to other parts of the city," Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Peter. S. Dkhar told IANS.
 
"The situation is very tense in those areas," he said, adding that suspension of internet on mobile services would continue besides prohibiting the illegal sale of petrol and diesel.
 
On June 1, the district magistrate imposed curfew in areas under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House in view of the breakdown of law and order in Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas following the May 31 clash.
 
Although, the curfew was relaxed for seven hours from 8 a.m. on Sunday, the mob continued to pelt stones at security forces forcing the police to fire tear gas shells.
 
The mob also attacked an undertrial prisoner van carrying a mentally-unstable person, who was referred to be admitted at the KJP Robert Hospital, Inspector General of Police, H. Nongpluh told IANS.
 
On Sunday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the police have "found out that there are certain people who are funding this agitation".
 
Meanwhile, a Sikh delegation led by Delhi legislator Manjinder Singh Sirsa met Sangma and expressed satisfaction that the "Sikhs were safe" in Meghalaya.
 
Shillong-based Sikh community leader Gurjeet Singh denied media reports that a gurudwara was torched or desecrated.
 
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has also denied rumours of the alleged attack.
 
The clash erupted after a skirmish between some women and a driver of Shillong Public Transport Service bus at Them Meteor, which led to an assault of three persons. 
 
The violence continued even after the parties involved in the skirmish reached a compromise.
 
IANS
 
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Curfew to be relaxed in Shillong on Sunday

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Curfew will be lifted for seven hours on Sunday in curfew-bound areas in Meghalaya's capital Shillong, but restrictions will remain in force, a senior government said on Saturday.
 
"Curfew would be lifted from 8.00 a.m to 3.00 p.m tomorrow (Sunday) in curfew areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House areas to allow people to get their essential commodities," Deputy Commissioner in-charge East Khasi Hills district, Peter S. Dkhar, told IANS.
 
Dkhar, however, said that suspension of internet on mobile services would continue besides prohibiting the sale of petrol, diesel etc., in loose jerricans, bottles and any other containers to public by all petrol pumps within the district.
 
The magistrate also appealed to the people not to trust false reports propagated in social media like attacks on gurdwara in the city.
 
"The situation is still tense but under control. The Army is on standby and will be deployed if the situation warrants. The district administration and the state police are making all efforts to restore peace and normalcy," he said.
 
Dkhar imposed indefinite curfew in areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House from 4 a.m on Friday in view of the breakdown of law and order in Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas following Thursday's clash.
 
The clash erupted after a skirmish between some women and a driver of Shillong Public Transport Service (SPTS) bus at Them Meteor, which led to the assault of three persons. The parties involved in the skirmish had arrived at a verbal compromise though.
 
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered to probe the incident as well as to identify the elements spreading rumours and inciting violence.
 
Making a fervent appeal to all citizens to maintain peace and extend help to bring normalcy back to the city, a government communique said: "It has been observed that false news and propaganda played a vital role in raising tempers and inciting violence...
 
"The members of the public are requested to remain calm and not to fall prey to rumours..."
 
A case has been registered an an arrest made in connection with an incident in which three boys were assaulted.
 
IANS
 
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Night curfew imposed in Shillong as violence continues

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Night curfew was imposed in the Meghalaya capital as violence continued in parts of the city on Friday despite indefinite curfew imposed to calm the situation following a violent clash between police and a mob on Thursday night, an official said.
 
"Night curfew has been imposed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Shillong agglomeration as there is likelihood that breach of peace may spread to other parts of thee city," said Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Peter. S. Dkhar.
 
This morning, Dkhar imposed curfew in areas under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House from 4 a.m. on Friday) in view of the breakdown of law and order in Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas following Thursday's clash.
 
Violating the curfew, miscreants continued to clash with police and indulge in stone-pelting.
 
Police fired teargas shell and carried out baton charge as unruly mobs attacked them with stones between Mawkhar and Motphran.
 
The clash erupted after a bus conductor was allegedly assaulted by a group of people residing at Them Iew Mawlong area.
 
"The situation is very tense in the area. We have arrested a number of stone pelters and many of the policemen have been injured after they were hit by stones," Davies Marak, the district police chief of East Khasi Hills, told IANS.
 
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma reviewed the overall law and order situation with Home Minister James Sangma, cabinet ministers Kyrmen Shylla and Banteidor Lyngdoh, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, M.S.Rao and senior Meghalaya Police officials.
 
"We have reviewed the overall law and order situation in the area. The area is still tense and district administration has taken immediate measure to calm the situation," James Sangma said.
 
Appealing to all the members of the public to maintain calm and restraint, the Home Minister urged the general public not to pay heed to false reports being circulated over social media.
 
He said internet services have been temporarily suspended to prevent spreading of misinformation via social media.
 
IANS
 
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Curfew imposed in Shillong following violent clash

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Curfew was imposed in some parts of Meghalaya's state capital Shillong on Friday following a violent clash that broke out between the police and an unruly mob in the city's Motphran area.
 
"Curfew has been imposed in areas under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House from 4 a.m. this (Friday) morning in view of the breakdown of law and order in Shillong city (Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas) following the violent clash on Thursday night," Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills district, Peter. S. Dkhar said.
 
The police used tear gas to disperse the mob but they did not move out of the area.
 
The clash erupted after a bus conductor was allegedly assaulted by a group of people residing at Them Aew Mawlong (Harijan's lane).
 
However, the situation turned volatile later in the night when the mob attempted to march towards Them Mawlong and started pelting stones at the police deployed in the area.
 
A journalist and four civilians were injured in the clash.
 
"We have tightened the security all over the city after miscreants set four vehicles on fire in four different locations at Motphran, Umsohson, Rynjah and Nongmynsong," Davies Marak, the district police chief of East Khasi Hills said
 
Three stone pelters were arrested. The police seized petrol bombs and other sharp weapons from their possession.
 
IANS
 
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Cabinet approves USOF scheme for mobile services in Meghalaya

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The Union Cabinet yesterday approved Implementation of a Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for the North Eastern Region (NER) in Meghalaya.
 
The plan, at a total estimated project cost of Rs. 3911 crore, will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), an official press release said.
 
The Cabinet also approved the enhanced cost of CTDP Project for NER for an amount of Rs 8120.81 crore (Rs 5336.18 crore was approved by the Cabinet on September 10, 2014).
 
The Scheme entails the provision of 2G+4G mobile coverage in identified uncovered areas of the State. It also would provide 2G+4G seamless mobile coverage along the National Highways in Meghalaya, the release said.
 
Strengthening of telecom network will result in an increase in the penetration of mobile connectivity in Meghalaya resulting in affordable and equitable access to communication, information and governance to people.
 
It would provide access to the public mobile network to hitherto unreached people of Meghalaya and empower citizens with benefits of ICTs for furthering socio-economic development. The innovative skill of uncovered areas will increase through broadband and internet access, the release added,
 
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Congress to push for government formation in Manipur, Meghalaya

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The Congress leaders in Meghalaya and Manipur said on Thursday that they will stake claim for formation of government in the two states since the party had emerged as the single largest party in the recent elections.
 
The Congress leaders said that since the BJP which had become the single largest party in Karnataka was allowed to form the government the same should not be denied to the Congress. 
 
In Meghalaya, the National People's Party had bagged 19 seats in the 60 member House and the Congress had secured 21 seats but was denied the chance to form the government in February. 
 
Former Manipur Chief Minister and Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh told IANS that he will stake claim to form the Congress government. 
 
In Meghalaya, the Congress had secured 28 seats while the BJP got just 21 in the March 2017 elections. 
 
He said that this chance cannot be denied to the party since the BJP was given a chance to form the government after denying the same to the Congress and JDS combined which command a majority in the southern state. 
 
IANS
 
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Conrad Sangma sworn in as 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya

National People's Party leader Conrad Sangma was sworn in on Tuesday morning in Shillong as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya at the head of a coalition government backed by the BJP and other parties.
 
Conrad Sangma sworn in as Meghalaya Chief Minister
National People's Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma was sworn in here this morning as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya at the head of a coalition government backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties.
 
Mr. Sangma, 40, son of late Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma, was administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Ganga Prasad at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan.
 
Along with Mr. Sangma, 11 other Ministers were also sworn in, including representatives of the BJP and other alliance partners -- the United Democratic Party (UDP), the People's Democratic Front (PDF) and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) -- were also sworn in.
 
Later, talking to journalists, Mr. Sangma said he would work to provide good governance and implement various schemes which would ensure development of the state.
 
BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh were among those present on the occasion.
 
The people of Meghalaya had delivered a fractured mandate in the February 27 elections to the 60-member legislative assembly, with the then ruling Congress emerging as the single largest party with 21 seats, eight less than it had in the last elections.
 
The NPP, an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Manipur, finished with 19 seats. The BJP, which did not win a single seat last time, secured two this time. The UDP  won six seats, HSPDP two, the PDF four, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) one seat each. Three independent candidates also got elected.
 
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Mr. Sangma had met the Governor on Sunday evening and staked claim to form the new government in the state. He had submitted letters of support from 34 MLAs, including those of the UDP, the PDF, the HDSP and the BJP, as well as an independent.
 
Outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had earlier staked his claim as the leader of the single largest party, but the numbers did not add up for the Congress.
 
Mr. Conrad Sangma is a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, having been elected from the Tura constituency in a bye-election in May, 2016. He did not contest the February 27 Assembly elections in the state and will now have to get elected within the next six months to fulfil the Constitutional requirement.
 
He has a BBA in Entrepreneurial Management and an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and the Imperial College, University of London in the United Kingdom.
 
He previously served as a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly from 2008-13 and as the Minister of Finance, Power and Tourism in the state in 2008-09. From 2009-13, he was the Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly.
 
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Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP of usurping power in Meghalaya through proxy

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Reacting for the first time to the Assembly election results in three North-Eastern States, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of usurping power in Meghalaya through a proxy.
 
"With just 2 seats, the BJP has usurped power in Meghalaya, through a proxy," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Like in Manipur & Goa, showing utter disregard for the mandate of the people. Obsessed instead with grabbing power, using big money to create an opportunistic alliance," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi's reaction came after National People's Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma was invited by the Governor of Meghalaya to form the new government in the state at the head of a coalition government backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties.
 
"The Congress party respects the mandate of the people of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya," he said in an earlier post.
 
"We are committed to strengthening our party across the North East and to winning back the trust of the people.
 
"My sincere thanks to each and every Congress worker who toiled for the party," he added.
 
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NPP leader Conrad Sangma to be sworn in as new CM of Meghalaya on Tuesday

National People's Party leader Conrad Sangma will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Meghalaya tomorrow morning at the head of a coalition government backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties.
Conrad Sangma
Conrad Sangma
National People's Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma will be  sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Meghalaya tomorrow morning at the head of a coalition government backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties.
 
The swearing-in ceremony will be held in the Raj Bhavan at 10.30 am tomorrow, a senior official told NetIndian.
 
The people of Meghalaya delivered a fractured mandate in the February 27 elections to the 60-member legislative assembly, with the ruling Congress emerging as the single largest party with 21 seats, eight less than it had in the last elections.
 
The NPP, an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Manipur, finished with 19 seats. The BJP, which did not win a single seat last time, secured two this time.
 
The United Democratic Party (UDP) won six seats, its alliance partner HSPDP got two seats, the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) secured four, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) won a seat each. Three independent candidates also got elected.
 
Mr. Sangma, 40, son of late Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma, met the Governor yesterday evening and staked claim to the form the next government in the state. He submitted letters of support from 34 MLAs, including those of the UDP, the PDF, the HDSP and the BJP, as well as an independent.
 
Outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had earlier staked his claim as the leader of the single largest party, but the numbers did not add up for the Congress.
 
Mr. Conrad Sangma is a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, having been elected from the Tura constituency in a bye-election in May, 2016.
 
He has a BBA in Entrepreneurial Management and an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and the Imperial College, University of London in the United Kingdom.
 
He previously served as a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly from 2008-13 and as the Minister of Fiance, Power and Tourism in the state in 2008-09. From 2009-13, he was the Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly.
 
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BJP headed for big win in Tripura, close contests in Nagaland, Meghalaya

The BJP, in partnership with the tribal-based IPFT, was on Saturday headed for an emphatic victory in the elections to the Tripura Legislative Assembly, ousting the CPI (M)-led Left Front, which had ruled the state for the past 25 years, while the contest in Nagaland and Meghalaya was close.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in partnership with the tribal-based Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), was today headed for an emphatic victory in the elections to the  Tripura Legislative Assembly, ousting the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front, which had ruled the state for the past 25 years.
 
As counting of votes progressed in Tripura, which went to the polls on February 18, as well as in Nagaland and Meghalaya, where votes were cast on February 27, the BJP-IPFT combine had won or was leading in 43 seats in the 60-member Assembly in Tripura.
 
The BJP had won 32 seats on its own and was leading in three more, while the IPFT won eight seats. The CPI (M) had won 13 seats and was leading in three others. 
 
However, in both Nagaland and Meghalaya, the contest was close. In Nagaland, the BJP and its ally, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), had won or was leading in 27 seats, while the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) had won or was leading in 27 seats.
 
Among the other parties, the Janata Dal (United) was leading in one seat, the National People's Party got one and was leading in another and an independent candidate was leading in one.
 
In Meghalaya, the ruling Congress won 21 seats in the 60-member house, while the National People's Party (NPP) got 19 seats. The BJP picked up two seats. 
 
Among the other parties, the NCP got one, the Hill State People's Democratic Party two, the United Democratic Party six, the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement one, the People's Democratic Front four and independents four.
 
Counting of votes began in all three states amidst tight security at 8 am today and all the results are expected by late this evening.
 
About 92 percent of the voters had exercised their franchise in Tripura, which went to the polls on February 18. The voting percentage was 85 in Meghalaya and 75 in Nagaland, where polling was held on February 27.
 
All the three Legislative Assemblies have a strength of 60, but polling was held in only 59 constituencies in Tripura, with the election in Charilam (ST) constituency postponed to March 12 following the death of a candidate. In Meghalaya, the election in Williamnagar was countermanded following the death of NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma in an improved explosive device (IED) blast. In Nagaland, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party chief Neiphiu Rio was declared elected unopposed from Northern Angami-II constituency.
 
In Tripura, the Left Front had won 50 seats in the last Assembly elections in 2013. The Congress had got the remaining ten seats then, but did not pick up a single seat this time. The BJP was nowhere in the picture in 2013.
 
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