Shillong: Meghalaya BJP president Ernest Mawrie called on Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday to apprise him of the ‘harassment’ faced by BJP party workers in West Garo Hills.

The BJP has demanded for the immediate removal of the West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police (SP) and the Deputy Commissioner. 

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The party has claimed that while the police in Tura are investigating the case against BJP Vice President Bernard Marak, party workers have been called to the police station and detained for long hours. 

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Marak has been accused of running a brothel at his farmhouse – Rimpu Bagan. A raid was carried out on July 22, which according to the police, revealed many illegalities. The militant-turned-politician was the self-styled chairman of the now-disbanded militant outfit named A.chik Nationalist Voluntary Council (B) (ANVC-B).

“Marak’s brother Wilver was called to the police station to record his statement. He was made to wait at the thana for more than six hours. The statement was not recorded and Wilver was asked to come the next day. So we would like to know why are the police troubling the party workers?” questioned Mawrie.

Mawrie said that the party wants an independent judicial inquiry to be carried out in Bernard Marak’s case. He said the Governor has given an assurance to look into the matter in consultation with the state government.

“The Governor has assured us that he will recommend the state government to go for an independent judicial inquiry,” said Mawrie.

Asked if the party still feels that Marak was framed, Mawrie refused to make any comments stating that it was subjudice.

Related | After ‘brothel’ charges, Bernard Marak now booked under Explosives Act

The BJP, an alliance of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), is waiting for the Central government decide whether or not to pull out from the coalition government. Mawrie said if they are directed to withdraw support from the government, they will immediately pull out.

On Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma finding Marak as a threat in the upcoming 2023 elections, Mawrie said that as state president of the BJP, he has seen the party growing in Garo Hills, especially in Tura. “So this can be one out of many reasons that CM feels threatened by Bernard Marak,” claimed Mawrie. 

In 2022, during the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), the BJP won two seats from the Tura constituency, which is the stronghold of the NPP and from the Dalu constituency, being held by another NPP legislator.

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Terming Marak’s case a political vendetta, Mawrie said, “Why did the police call only one news channel to report about the raid?”

Earlier, the party’s state in-charge M Chuba Ao, in an interview with ‘Shillong Times’, asked why only one media house – ‘Hub News’ – was taken to the resort during the raid and why the police raided the private property twice.

Meanwhile, the party carried out a state-wide protest in the party office. In Tura, the party was denied permission to stage a peaceful demonstration.

Shouting slogans of ‘We Want Justice’, placards were held by the party workers that reas – ‘We Demand Safety of Our Vice President Bernard Marak while In Police Custody’, ‘Stop harassment of BJP Karyakartas’.

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