Eleven pressure groups of Meghalaya on Monday staged a “rally pandemic Tari” (knives surrender rally) under the banner of “Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai” (Voice of Mawlai People) to pretest against the government who failed to suspend three top police officers, who were reportedly in charge of the killing of a surrendered militant leader.
Police firing on August 13
On August 13, Cherishterfield Thangkhiew, the former general secretary of the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) was killed in police firing during a raid on his residence at Mawlai Kynton Massar. As per the sources, the march started from Mawlai petrol pump and came to a climax at Mawlai bus stand when knives were surrendered in a symbolic protest as the police had mentioned that the former HNLC leader was killed by them in “self-defense” as he started attacking them with a knife. A sitting legislator of the state Assembly was also there who later “surrendered” kitchen knives.
Protestors burnt copies of the show-cause notice
Protestors also burnt the copies of the show cause notice which was issued by the East Khasi Hills district administration against the leaders of the “Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai” stating they have violated the Covid-19 safety rules and regulations by doing public rallies twice on the earlier occasions.
The East Khasi Hills district administration placed a show-cause notice for leaders of the umbrella organization stating they’re violating Covid-19 protocols by doing social gatherings to ensure the death of the former militant.
A leader of the umbrella body, Donboklang Kharlyngdoh said, “the rally was not just to demand the immediate suspension of the police” personnel but also a response to the show-cause notice issued by the district administration against the leaders.”
Formation of the high-level judiciary committee to probe death
A high-level judicial inquiry committee has also been formed by the state government which is headed by Meghalaya Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice T. Vaiphto to probe the death of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.
“We have asked the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice T. Vaiphei to head this judicial inquiry. Once the report comes to us, only then will we be able to find out the details and take all appropriate actions in terms of suspension or any other kind of extreme order. The Meghalaya government is committed to doing that,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said.
The government of Meghalaya also had some discussions with the civil society organizations, groups, and headmen of the Mawlai area for a peaceful environment.
About the incident
On August 15, the protests were triggered in Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya following the death of former general secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiew in a police encounter on August 13.
The rifles were being looted by some masked miscreants and a police vehicle from the Umshning-Mawkynroh police station and later the police vehicle was burnt.
On August 23, the three INSAS rifles snatched by masked miscreants from the police personnel during the violence were recovered by Meghalaya police.