Shillong: Meghalaya-based Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on Friday held a black flag protest and hung banners at Motphran in Shillong city against the rising fuel prices.

They carried banners that read ‘Why should the poor pay heavy tax to make the rich richer’ and ‘The people in India are poor because the govt has over taxed the citizens’.

HYC members also distributed black flags to passing vehicles and asked them to hoist the flags as a mark of protest. Loud slogans condemning the NPP-led MDA government and also the Central government for the fuel price hike were raised.

After hanging the banners at Motphran, the organisation members started walking towards Khyndailad, also popularly known as Police Bazaar. However, they were stopped by Extra Assistant Commisioner (EAC) D Lyngdoh. 

After a mild disagreement, both the parties eventually agreed to send only four of its members to head to Khyndailad to put up the banners. 

Currently, the price of petrol in Shillong stands at Rs 101.72 and diesel at Rs 95 per litre.

Upon reaching Khyndailad, in what was seen as a unique way of protesting, black balloons were released in the air as a mark of observing black day. 

Speaking with mediapersons, HYC general secretary Roy Synrem said with the fuel prices increasing, it will automatically lead to increase in prices of essential commodities.

He added that the only people who will be at the receiving end will be the poor and the needy, since the fuel price hike doesn’t affect only those who own a car; it affects the consumers too.

He urged the state government to reduce the VAT on fuel by 50%. “The useless expenditure made by the government is a wastage of money, so the government should reduce that and use it on development,” said Synrem.

He also urged the petroleum dealers association in Meghalaya to take initiative to urge the central government to reduce central tax.

He warned that if the Centre doesn’t pay heed to their protest then they will be compelled to take major steps and call every citizen to participate. “We can’t make the rich richer and the poor poorer,” said Synrem.

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