Shillong: The wave of resentment following the killing of former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew refuses to ebb. On Tuesday, leaders of Voice of the People of Mawlai carried out a public rally at Malki locality in Shillong followed by the lighting of candles in Thangkhiew’s memory.

Marbud Dkhar, a leader of the organisation, questioned why the government was still adamant about not suspending the top cops. He said even the Meghalaya Governor has condemned the incident, “so why no action has been taken.”

“It took just a few minutes for the police to kill Cherish but it’s taking so much time for the government to suspend those cops,” said Dkhar.

Local MLA PT Sawkmie also expressed anger over the delay in suspending Meghalaya top cops – SP of East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills and SP Traffic – accused of killing Thangkhiew.

Sawkmie appreciated the Governor’s remark of terming the incident unfortunate and said, “The Governor has also realised what the police has done on August 13 (taking the life of an ex HNLC leader). Though I feel the Governor understands the ground reality, the police can not take someone’s life like that. They should have tried to arrest and interrogate the person.”

He has also urged the Meghalaya Chief Minister to “understand the seriousness of this case since even the head of the state has called it unfortunate.”

“I urge the CM not to embarrass the government and disappoint his colleague. The Assembly session will soon be held and the killing of Cherishterfield will be a major issue (in the session),” said Sawkmie.

Lending support to the demand of the Voice of the People of Mawlai, the MLA urged the CM to suspend the top cops.

“By taking time in not suspending the policemen, the government will have to face many more agitations. The government is damaging its image,” he added.

Also read | Meghalaya: Mawlai protesters surrender ‘tari’ to demand justice

Minister Renikton Tongkhar draws flak

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Renikton Tongkhar has drawn flak after a news report emerged claiming that he would not sign the support letter to the demand of the Voice of the People of Mawlai.

For the past few days, the organisation has been meeting with 35 MLAs from Khasi and Jaintia regions seeking their support to sign a letter demanding suspension of the top cops involved in the killing.

Tongkhar on Tuesday clarified that he did not refuse to sign but said he will consult with his MDA colleagues. He added that he has assured the NGOs that the government is taking this issue seriously.

“I have respectfully requested them to wait. Since we are a coalition, we will do things together. I can’t take decisions alone. I want to clarify that I have not refused to sign. It is still under consideration. We have not taken it lightly and the government is trying to find ways to ensure a fair judicial inquiry report,” Tongkhar said.

“I’ve asked them to wait since we will meet the chief minister and discuss how to go about and meet the aspirations of the people of Mawlai,” he said.

The minister also urged the people to “have faith in the government.” “Everyone has suffered enough because of COVID-19 and no one wants more problems. The government has taken it seriously, so I urge the people to work together to bring back normalcy and for peace to prevail,” added Tongkhar.

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