Shillong: Retired Chief Justice T Vaiphei on Friday submitted the judicial inquiry report into the killing of former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

Justice Vaiphei began the inquiry last year in September and was finally able to complete the inquiry amid procedural wrangling.

Speaking with media persons, Justice Vaiphei said that the report was already ready last Saturday but due to the Chief Minister being away Vaiphei was able to get an appointment today and submit the report.

He stated that there were no difficulties in carrying out the inquiry because of the cooperation of both the victims’ families and the police.

The one-man judicial inquiry commission had examined 6 police officials part of the operation, four family members, and two doctors.

When asked about what were his recommendations, Vaiphei refused to disclose the details of the report since it is a privileged document. He also suggested that it is now for the government to decide whether to accept his recommendations or not.

It may be mentioned that a judicial inquiry was initiated by the state government last year after a massive law and order situation erupted in the state following the encounter of Thangkhiew at his residence in Mawlai during the wee hours of August 13, 2021.

Family members and civil society had alleged that it was a fake encounter and demanded a probe and also the suspension of the police officials involved in the ‘claimed’ encounter.

The police had claimed that Thangkhiew was killed in retaliatory firing as the former militant had tried to attack the police with a knife.

This led to several questions like the comparison between the weapon used by Thangkhiew versus the one used by the police. Questions were also raised about the timing of the encounter.

Former Meghalaya Director General of Police (DGP) R Chandranathan had then clarified that there was incontrovertible evidence that led the police to raid the house of surrendered militant Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

The raid turned into an encounter in the early hours of August 13, 2021, when a combined team of East Jaintia Hills Police and East Khasi Hills Police raided Thangkhiew’s residence at Mawlai Kynton Massar in Shillong.

Chandranathan had mentioned that the former general secretary of the banned outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) was involved in an IED bomb blast at Laitumkhrah market in Shillong, and was also wanted in the IED blast at Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills.

Thangkhiew, the self-styled general secretary of the banned rebel outfit HNLC, had surrendered before Meghalaya Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong at Shillong in October 2018. He was known as one of the most dreaded militant leaders of the state and was the founding member of the HNLC.

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