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At least three pressure groups of Meghalaya today announced a series of protests demanding that the Congress government put on hold construction of railway project in Khasi Jaintia Hills region of the state. "We (members of the three organisations) will stage a sit-in-demonstration on June 21 to mark the beginning of our protest against construction of railway line in the absence of mechanisms to check influx," Federation of Khasi-Jaintia & Garo People (FKJGP) president Wellbirth Rani told reporters. The groups were not in favour of railway projects as they suspect that trains would bring outsiders easily and the influx will harm the culture of the people of Meghalaya. In 2013 too, violent agitations had been held in the state by various bodies demanding imposition of inner line permit (ILP) system in the state to check entry of outsiders. Rani said that the demonstration would be held near the Additional Secretariat here following which the groups would intensify the protests if the government failed to address their concern. The decision was taken at a meeting of FKJGP, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front and Ri Bhoi Youth Federation in view of the government taking action against those who had damaged government properties last month. The anti-railway groups also sought immediate appointment with the state government to put forth their demand that the Tetelia-Byrnihat railway line in Ri Bhoi district be put on hold. Meanwhile, at least 10 youths allegedly involved in arson attacks in Ri-Bhoi and East Khasi Hills districts were arrested, police said. East Khasi Hills district SP (City) V Syiem said an arson attack was foiled last night when police team intercepted five youths in a car at Golflink area here. Police seized 2 litres of petrol and four car tyres from the vehicle.
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