Shillong: District authorities in Meghalaya have slapped show cause notices to six leaders of the ‘Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai’ for violating COVID-19 protocols by holding public gatherings twice in the city in the recent times.
District Magistrate of East Khasi Hills, Isawanda Laloo said that the leaders of the group held a rally on August 25 at a “limited space” in Mawlai Nongkwar near Thangkhiew petrol pump which was attended by a crowd of about 1500 without obtaining prior permission and another gathering on August 27 by holding a candle light rally from petrol pump to Mawlai Mawdatbaki.
“In the video footage shared, it was also seen that up to 1000 people attended, many were without masks and little social distancing observed,” the show cause notices pointed out.
The show-cause notices dated August 31 said that while COVID-19 cases in East Khasi Hills district stand at around 1200, the number of cases in Mawlai is still relatively high with 116 and 94 deaths reported since May.
“While the situation has improved, concerns are still there regarding a possible third wave. There is no room for complacency and therefore such acts will defeat the efforts of the administration, health department and public at large to contain the spread of the virus,” Laloo pointed out in the show cause notice.
The show-caused NGO leaders have been asked to reply to the notices served on them by September 6 as to why action should not be initiated against them under relevant sections of the IPC, Disaster Management Act and the Meghalaya Epidemic Disease, COVID Regulations, 2020 for organizing unauthorized gatherings in total violation of SOPs, thereby posing a risk to public health and safety.
“Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai’ (Voice of Mawlai) is a group comprising pressure groups, elders, youth, and individuals formed after the death of the surrendered militant leader and former General Secretary of the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Cherishterfield Thangkhiew in police firing during a raid on his residence at Mawlai on August 13.
The Meghalaya government has maintained that the militant leader was involved in IED blasts at the Police Reserve in East Jaintia Hills district and at Laitumkhrah market in Shillong.
Several pressure groups have been demanding the suspension of top police officials, including State Director General of Police R. Chandranathan in connection with the killing of Thangkhiew, even as the State government has set up an independent judicial inquiry into the case.