SHILLONG, Dec 04: With family members putting a strong demand for a CBI probe into the attack on CSWO president, Agnes Kharshiing and her aide, Anita Sangma, Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma has given his assurance that this demand will be looked into.
Conrad had made this assurance after meeting the immediate family members of the two victims on Tuesday where a strong demand was made for a time bound investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident.
A joint memorandum signed by 19 family members was also handed over to the Chief Minister by Agnes’s brother John F Kharshiing in the presence of Amita Sangma and relatives.
The state government had earlier announced its decision to set up a fact finding independent inquiry into the brutal attack on the two women activists.
“Since the family has insisted, asked and requested for a CBI probe, we will examine the matter. Whether it will be a judicial inquiry or an independent agency inquiry, we will discuss again and take a call,” Conrad informed after the meeting.
Conrad however said that the government’s preference is for a judicial inquiry. “I think a judicial inquiry will do more justice to the whole inquiry process as there are many legal aspect attached to it,” he said in this regard.
“We also wanted something that will not be connected with us at all since the scope of inquiry is quite big and it goes into the genesis of how this whole thing started,” he added.
The political department in consultation with the law department was also asked to work out the modalities including the term and references of the independent inquiry.
Conrad also said that two or three meetings have already been held to discuss this issue and that the meeting held on Tuesday was a follow up. “We are looking at it in a very detail manner and I hope in the next couple of meetings we will be able to finalize,” he said.
In the memorandum, the immediate family members appealed to the government to consider instituting a time-bound investigation by the CBI to ensure arrest of all miscreants including the mastermind of the attack on the two women.
Agnes and Amita were critically injured when they were attacked by a group suspected to be members of the coal mafia at Tuber Sohshrieh village in East Jaintia Hills District, just after taking pictures of coal laden trucks on November 8.
Also demanding quick arrest of those indulging in unlawful activities in open connivance with administration authorities, the family members said, “Society has lost faith in fair investigation or prosecution of the accused persons if conducted by the state agencies.”
They alleged that the failure of administration to address the issues of mining has resulted in the creation of criminal acts.
Elaborating more on the stand of the family members, John F Kharshiing pointed out that investigation into the murder of RTI activist from Jaintia Hills Poipynhun Majaw in the same district is yet to make any headway.
John said that similarly, (L) Pearlystone Joshua Marbaniang, Sub-Inspector, and Incharge of Partharkhma Police Outpost in Ri-Bhoi District, was found murdered after he detained 32 coal laden trucks illegally transporting coal, on January 24, 2015.
“Shockingly this case was registered as a suicide case instead of murder by the state agencies,” he said while adding that in July 2015, the son of Dolloi Elaka Nongkhlieh, East Jaintia Hills District, was murdered and till date justice is yet to be delivered.
Meanwhile, the family members also expressed their gratitude to the state government for extending assistance and intervention in Agnes’ and Amita’s treatment.