SHILLONG, Nov 10: Citizens of Shillong have demanded that the state government institutes an independent inquiry into the brutal attack on social activist Agnes Kharshiing and her associate, Amita Sangma to ensure all culprits are punish.
While also insisting the need to include sections related to criminal conspiracy and common intention in the case registered against the attack, they have also sought for a separate investigation into the illegal mining and transportation of coal and the alleged nexus of coal mafias with police and other higher authorities.
These demands were made during a Citizen’s Protest held at the parking lot near the Additional Secretariat here on Saturday to express solidarity and condemn the brutal attack on the two women, who are still in critical condition.
Agnes and Amita received severe head injuries after they were attacked by a group of 30-40 people at Tuber Sohshrieh in coal-rich district of East Jaintia Hills on November 8.
The incident also took place when they were returning from Ladrymbai after lodging a complaint against illegal mining and transportation of coal.
Police have so far arrested only two accused identified as Elphon Dkhar (22) and Meklison Siangshai (26). It may be mentioned here that police have registered a case under sections related to attempt to murder and robbery only.
People from different walks of life who participated during the protest also maintained that the state government has to take responsibility for allowing such lawlessness to prevail in the state and demanded that free medical treatment should be given to both the victims.
Speaking at the gathering, former home minister RG Lyngdoh said that a proper probe should be instituted to unravel the nexus of coal mafias with police and other higher authorities.
“I strongly feel that the incident shows that illegal coal mining is something much more below the surface than what we see. There is a need to really do some deep investigation to find out who all are involved in this (nexus),” Lyngdoh said.
Lyngdoh also urged those engaged in mining to look at other means of livelihood so that one need not dependent only on coal or limestone mining.
Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) leader Angela Rangad said because of this nexus, people with conflicting interest in the government are allowing for illegal activities to take place.
Rangad suspected that the attack on Agnes was a coordinated and planned one by mafias along with some people who have common intention.
“We wonder why criminal conspiracy and common intention were not considered by police as they register the case only on attempt to murder and robbery,” she questioned.
The speakers also questioned the government and home minister, James K. Sangma for keeping quiet on the incident.
Another speaker said that if the government is not serious about maintaining law and order, it is of no point to have a government.
According to him, illegal mining is not about snatching away livelihood of many people, since such illegal activities benefited only few people who always suppress the poor with all their might.