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Pressure groups hold surprise protest at Meghalaya secretariat

Several police officials quickly rushed to the site as the pressure groups have not announced the protest ahead of schedule as they normally do.

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Shillong: Pressure groups on Friday staged a “surprise” protest in front of the Meghalaya secretariat to mount pressure on the Conrad Sangma-led government to suspend the police officials responsible in the killing of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader, Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

The protestors from three pressure groups – Khasi Students’ Union, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front and Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People – under the banner of Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai (Voice of Mawlai People) gathered outside the main gate of the secretariat seeking “justice” for the death of Thangkhiew in a “fake encounter”.

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Several police officials quickly rushed to the site as the pressure groups have not announced the protest ahead of schedule as they normally do.
The protestors however stayed at the site and raised slogans demanding for immediate suspension of the police officers.

A fortnight ago, the pressure group held a protest by dumping knives in front of the secretariat gate demanding the suspension of the police officials.

The groups and certain politicians, are demanding that Director General of Police R Chandranathan, East Jaintia Hills SP Jagpal Singh Dhanoa and SP (Traffic) Shailendra Bamaniya should be immediately suspended for their alleged role in the “fake encounter”.

Due to the sudden nature of the protest, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, had to enter through the exit gate as the protestors were blocking the entry gate.

During the protest, the members of the organization attempted to hang banners on the secretariat gate, but they were immediately removed by the police officials. They however raised slogans and stayed at the site for sometime before dispersing.

The protesters said that they are protesting “to remind the government to suspend the police officer.” They said that their demand is justified as the suspension of the officers would ensure the judicial probe is free and fair.

“If the government doesn’t suspend it will only emboldened other police personnel to be involved in such killing,” one of the protesters said adding, “so far they have held peaceful protests.”

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had said that action will be taken against those responsible for the death of Thangkhiew based on the report of the judicial inquiry.

The government is committed to doing that once the judicial inquiry report comes in giving us all details of the case. Once the report comes, we will we be able to identify those responsible and take action,” Sangma said.

On August 18, the State Government had assigned the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice T. Vaiphei to head the judicial probe into the encounter death of Thangkhiew.
The report has to be submitted within three months.

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