Petrol bombs lobbed at Meghalaya CM’s house amid violence over former militant's killing
Shillong/UNI/IBNS: Miscreants lobbed petrol bombs at Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s private house on Sunday after district authorities clamped curfew and suspended mobile internet facility.
No one was injured in the bomb attacked, a police official said.
Police said that the incident occurred at around at 10:15 pm when miscreants hurled two petrol bombs at the private residence of the Chief Minister in Upper Shillong.
A man-hunt has been launched to nab the attackers and a criminal case has been registered, sources added.
Curfew was clamped in Shillong and mobile internet services temporarily suspended in the wake of vandalism, arson and snatching away of weapons from the police personnel on Sunday in protest against the killing of a surrendered former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militant, Cheristarfield Thangkhiew, who was killed in a police raid on Friday.
The ban on mobile internet and data services had been imposed for 48 hours following the fast deteriorating law and order situation in capital Shillong and its adjoining areas.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui has resigned amid violence over the police encounter of the ex-militant, said a TOI report.
The district administration issued orders in the four districts of the state namely East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi from 6 pm August 15.
“Reports have been received from police HQ, Meghalaya, Shillong that incidents of vandalism and arson which have the potential to disturb public peace and tranquility and cause threat to public safety, have occurred in the East Khasi hills district and adjoining districts which may likely create severe breakdowns of law and order… To prevent the misuse of media … temporary suspension of telecom services for the next 48 hours has been issued…” a statement from the State Home Department said.
An uneasy clam was prevailing in Shillong and its adjoining areas after former rebel leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew’s was killed in an police encounter.
The police beefed up security across Shillong for Independence Day celebrations.
Stones were pelted at a vehicle used by a police patrolling team in Shillong on Sunday.
Black flags were spotted in several locations in Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, during the Independence Day celebrations.
The black flags were allegedly put up by activists of “Voice of Mawlai people” in protest against the ‘killing’ of surrendered HNLC leader.
On Saturday, a day after surrendered Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militant leader, Cherishterfield Thagkhiew was killed in firing during a police raid of his house in the city in connection with recent IED blasts in Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma appealed for peace in the State.
“It is never the intention of the police to harm anybody. … but as you are aware that the circumstances led to an unfortunate incident,” the Chief Minister told reporters after reviewing the law and order situation in the state with top police officials and senior government officials.
Thangkhiew was declared brought dead to Shillong Civil hospital on Friday after a Special Operation Team (SOT) of the Meghalaya Police fired at him in self-defence during a search operation at his house at Mawlai Kynton Massar.
The police said that he had attacked the team with a knife as an attempt to escape, in the wake of which a single round was fired “exerting the right to private defence”.
However, family members of the former militant leader rubbished the claims of the State police and termed it as a “cold-blooded murder” and demanded action against the police officer who pulled the trigger.
Terming the incident as “very unfortunate”, the Chief Minister, who arrived from New Delhi on Saturday, said that the intention of the police was to arrest Thangkhiew, against whom there was “credible and tangible evidence” of involvement in the IED blasts in Jaintia Hills district and recently in the Laitumkhrah market in Shillong.
“Based on this credible information, the police had made their strategy on how to move forward,” he said, adding that information was received from multiple agencies, including those from outside the state that “another attempt was going to be made in the next few days in Shillong” to carry out an IED blast.
“The police decided to move swiftly in order to ensure that no other incident takes place in Shillong or any other part of the state and in the process they moved forward to make an arrest. It was never the intention of the police to harm any individual but in the process, if the arrest was made, it would rather be in the interest of the police department as they would be able to get more credible information on other networks that possibly are there,” Sangma said.
Appealing to the people to maintain peace, the Chief Minister said, “whatever the Government and the police was doing was for the interest and safety of the people of the State.”
He informed that the East Khasi Hills district Superintendent of Police has submitted a report as mandated by the National Human Rights Commission and a magisterial enquiry will be constituted.
Asked if the questionable operation would be counterproductive in its effort to fight militancy in the state, the Chief Minister reiterated that the government’s intention was not to harm anybody.
“But if anybody tries to disturb the peace it has to be stopped,” Sangma said, maintaining that the government wants peace and it is open to talks with any organisations that would like to come and talk with us.
“We have always maintained that it must be within the constitution framework. They must shun violence and it must be unconditional talks,” the Chief Minister said.
There have been banners hoisted in parts of the state capital demanding justice and also the resignation of Home Minister Lakhmen Rymbui.
The opposition Congress and several NGOs and Human Rights bodies have called for an independent inquiry into the incident.