Shillong: The ‘Voice of the People of Mawlai’ in Shillong continued with their demand for justice for former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew by carrying out a unique protest on Monday.

Locals, together with leaders of the organisation raised their kitchen knives and participated in sloganeering. The knives, locally called ‘tari’, were later put down as a mark of their protest against the Thangkhiew’s killing.

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Kitchen knife has been a topic of discussion since the killing of Thangkhiew on August 13 during a raid carried out by the Meghalaya police. According to the police, Thangkhiew used a kitchen knife to attack them, which led the police to shoot at him in retaliation and self-defence. Thangkhiew succumbed to his injuries and was laid to rest on August 15, 2021.

Local knives called ‘tari’

Meanwhile, six leaders from the organisation were issued a show-cause notice by the district administration for violating health protocols. The protesters later burned copies of the notice.

President of the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) Mawlai circle, Donboklang Kharlyngdoh, said they were ready to go to prison but were firm on their demand to suspend cops involved in the killing.

The Voice of the People of Mawlai has been demanding the government to suspend the police personnel involved in the killing of Thangkhiew.

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Kharlyngdoh explained the knives used were only to represent their protest and did not mean that the protestors would confront the police with knives.

“This is an insult to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, GK Iangrai who claimed that Cherish used a kitchen knife to attack the police and hence they shot him down. The statement he made was nonsense and is unacceptable,” said Kharlyngdoh.

“Today we met with Meghalaya Assembly speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, who is also the president of the United Democratic Party (UDP), and urged him to raise our voice and make an objection to the shooting of an unarmed man. People have come out again this time with their kitchen knives as a sign of protest,” Marbud Dkhar, a member of the organisation, told EastMojo.

Protests in Mawlai

Banlum Lyngdoh, another member of the organisation, condemned the government for failing to act on their demands.

“The govt should respect the demands of the voice of the people of Mawlai and that is to suspend the cops involved in the killing of cherish,” said Lyngdoh.

Participating in the rally, Mawlai resident W Thangkhiew said demanding justice for the slain ex-militant was important. “For this rally, we surrendered our ‘tari’ and our demand will continue as long as we live,” said Thangkhiew.

Cherishterfield was an ex-HNLC member and had surrendered in 2018. A raid was carried out on August 13 during the wee hours. The raid did not turn out as planned, which led to the killing of Thangkhiew, and subsequent protests in Shillong.

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