Meghalaya CM assures judicial probe into police firing

Shillong, March 7 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Tuesday assured a judicial inquiry into police firing in which three people suspected to be militants were injured in the state’s North Garo Hills district.

In the meantime, civil society groups have served a two day ultimatum to the government for immediate transfer of the district’s Superintendent of Police Dalton P. Marak holding him responsible for the firing and action against the erring police personnel.

“In order to clear all (doubts) and instill confidence, we will have a judicial inquiry into the incident and will also ensure necessary support system to the injured people,” Sangma told the assembly.

His assurance came after the opposition National People’s Party legislators Nihim D. Shira and James Sangma and veteran Congress legislator Salseng C. Marak urged government to institute a judicial inquiry.

Chief Secretary K.S. Kropha and Director General of Police S.B. Singh are monitoring the situation, Sangma said, while appealing to the people of the area to maintain peace.

Earlier, making a suo moto statement in the assembly, Home Minister Horju Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh explained about the sequence of the incident which led to the torching of the Resubelpara police station and police barracks besides seven police vehicles.

He said police had fired at the three persons travelling in a pick-up van on the Resu-Khaldang road, suspecting them to be militants, when they sped away through three different police checkpoints despite being signalled to stop.

The three injured persons – Milseng Sangma, Tubal Sangma and Janrak Sangma – have been admitted to a private hospital in Assam’s main city Guwahati.

Police were conducting checking on vehicles in the area following inputs about movement of a dreaded terrorist William Sangma, responsible for a number of kidnappings and other crime in Meghalaya and Assam, Lyngdoh said.

Moreover, he said that place of occurrence of this incident is very close to the border with Assam and there were lot of militant activities by various militant organisations that include the United Liberation of Asom, the Garo National Liberation Army, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and other groups.

“Our police force has been working under very challenging circumstances and they have acted with restraint and have earned public goodwill,” Lyngdoh said, adding the incident turned violent when a crowd that had gathered at Resubelpara Community Health Centre burnt down two police vehicles as well as ransacked the buildings.

He said the situation has been brought to normal.