social activist Agnes Kharshiing

Shillong: Social activist Agnes Kharshiing has demanded a CBI inquiry into the illegal rat hole coal mining in Meghalaya after an FIR was lodged by the headman of Nengchigen village in West Khasi Hills District on the same.

Kharshiing, who has been at the forefront of exposing illegal coal mining activities in Meghalaya and was brutally assaulted for her activism in 2018, said a CBI inquiry is needed as she suspects the government is hiding all the evidence and is trying to cover up illegal coal mining in Meghalaya.

Kharshiing said she is trying to find out what can be done since several RTIs have been filed on the same.

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government has time and again stated that they require evidence of any sort of illegalities happening in the state and then only an inquiry can be constituted.

The Nokma (village head), who has filed the FIR, has managed to submit pictures and visuals of the rat hole mines in the village, she said.

Kharshiing has also suggested the government speak to the Chief Secretary who has to give the report. “When the people give the report to the media; the media is the fourth pillar of democracy; they carry the news from the people and they bring it out, and it is the chief secretary’s office that has to find out what these reports are,” said the social activist.

Asked what if the Nokma might meet the same fate as her (getting assaulted), Kharshiing said that if such a thing happens, then those in the government should be arrested immediately because they are allowing the mafia and militancy to scare the people.

“They should be arrested immediately and the police know that they should arrest. Remove the police who are not acting on it; there are police who are dirty and they are just taking their salary. They are not acting according to the law; it is high time that people stopped living in fear,” she added.

Concerning Kharshiing’s assault case, the activist is still awaiting justice. She alleged that illegal activities are taking place since the government is hand in gloves.

“Look at the way they are appointing the police; they are rotting in the same place. You know if they can give them all the money… in a government there has to be transparency, accountability, and it is not going like that,” alleged Kharshiing.

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