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Action against attackers will be based on evidence: Sangma

Sangma said that he had instructed the police to use minimum force and control the crowd without excessive force.

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Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Friday said that any arrest and action taken against those involved in the Tura mob attack on the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), also known as mini secretariat on July 24 would strictly be based on evidence.

Sangma, however, refrained from giving a political angle to the attack made against him while he was meeting with civil society groups and other stakeholders on the demand for “winter capital” in Tura and the implementation of the roster system of job reservation in a retrospective manner.

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“I want to make this very clear that anybody who will be arrested will purely be on the basis of evidence. What had happened was not correct. I went there with a positive intention… I decided to go there to talk to them and find a way forward,” he told reporters. 

Stating that the civil society groups were certain that none of those who were involved in the attack were from their organisations, the Chief Minister said, “From all statements, there were external agencies present who were not connected to the groups there. That sloganeering happened to be from political parties. If a person, based on proof, was involved in inciting, action will be taken against the individual.”

Sangma said that he had instructed the police to use minimum force and control the crowd without excessive force.

“We had intelligence that there was a crowd, but it wasn’t expected that they would go to that extent and make an attack on the chief minister. We had expected some aggression and that we would be able to talk to them,” he said.

Expressly anguish over how police were attacked and that even an ambulance that was taking the injured personnel was also not spared, the Chief Minister said, “What had happened was unprecedented. The police are investigating, nab the culprits, and find out the purpose of their attack.” 

So far, close to 40 people have been arrested in connection with the violence. Several people were injured due to stone pelting and several vehicles were damaged.

“Ministers and civilian vehicles were damaged, and a police vehicle was also burnt,” Sangma said.

Brushing aside the allegations of intelligence failure, he said, “there has been a lapse and we would try to correct it since it was a “complicated situation”. 

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