Shillong: Three days after former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew was killed in police ‘encounter’, the Meghalaya government on Monday decided to institute a judicial inquiry into the killing after widespread criticism of the police’s actions, alleged violation of human rights, as well as retaliatory arson and vandalism across Shillong on Sunday. After a Cabinet meeting on Monday, the government has also decided to extend the curfew by another 24 hours.
“The Cabinet has decided to constitute a judicial inquiry to look into the events that took place in the early morning on August 13. The Cabinet has also decided to set up a peace committee, which will be headed by the Deputy chief minister,” chief minister Conrad Sangma said.
The government had imposed curfew in Shillong and suspended mobile internet services in at least four districts as vandalism and arson rocked the state capital and nearby areas on Independence Day during the funeral procession of the former militant.
The curfew was extended by another 24 hours on Monday after more reports of vandalism across Shillong. Earlier on Monday, a vehicle carrying CRPF personnel was attacked by protesters in Mawlai area in Meghalaya during curfew hours, prompting security forces to resort to mild force for dispersing the crowd.
“Keeping in mind the prevailing overall situation in Shillong city, it has been decided that the curfew will continue for the next 24 hours, until 5 am on Wednesday. Same with mobile internet services, which will remain suspended for another 24 hours,” Sanga said.
The attack on the CRPF vehicle took place hours after unidentified miscreants hurled petrol bombs at Sangma’s residence late on Sunday.
The government order states that the curfew has been imposed to stop the further spread of violence and breach of peace in other parts of the state and control further damage to property and loss of life.
The curfew has been imposed in the whole of Municipal Area, the Cantonment Area, all areas under Mawlai and Mawpat blocks, including Census towns, areas Under Mylliem Block from Umshyrpi Bridge up to 7th Mile, Upper Shillong, Madanrting, Mawblei, Laitkor, Nongkseh, Umlyngka, Lawsohtun, Mawdiangdiang, Diengiong and Siejiong.
The Meghalaya government has also asked the Centre for five companies of paramilitary forces – three CRPF and two BSF.
Hundreds had gathered in Shillong on Sunday to pay their last tributes to former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew, who was killed in an ‘encounter’ at 3 am at his residence on Friday.
Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui had resigned on Sunday amid violence in Shillong over the police shooting of the former militant. Rymbui also urged the CM to institute a judicial inquiry into the shooting of Thangkhiew, the self-styled general secretary of banned militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council.
Meanwhile, chief minister Conrad Sangma has reviewed Rymbui’s resignation, who will continue to remain in-charge until his resignation is accepted.
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