Meghalaya : RTI activist Agnes Kharshiing’s condition turns critical , on life support

SAV file shot.

Shillong (Meghalaya) , Nov 9 :Medical officials at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences said that Kharshiing is still in a “critical condition” .
“Kharshiing is under ventilator. The other two are in stable condition,” NEIGRIHMS Spokesman, K.K.Pandita said.
Doctors at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) said, Kharshiing is put on a ventilator, while the others assaulted are in stable condition.

Meanwhile ,two persons were arrested on Friday in connection with the brutal attack on Right to Information and women’s rights activist, Agnes Kharshiing and two of her companions in East Jaitia Hills district on Thursday.

In a pre-dawn raid in the coal-belt areas, East Jaitia Hills police arrested Elphon Dkhar and Meklison Siangshai from Kongong area under Khliehriat police station in connection with the attack on Kharshiing and her aides at Sohshrieh area.

Kharshiing, who is also the President of Civil Society Women’s Organisation, along with her aides Amita Sangma and E Kurbah were brutally attacked after they had gone to the Lad Rymbai police station to lodge a complaint about the illegal transportation of coal in violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order.

The NGT had imposed an interim ban on the extraction and transportation of the coal since 2014.

“We have arrested two persons and the hunt is on to arrest the other criminals,” Superintendent of Police in-charge East Jaintia Hills, Sylvester Nongtnger said.

“Moreover,” he said, “Police has taken a sou moto case since the victims are not in position to file FIR as they are in a serious condition.”

Nongtnger said that police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police will investigate into the entire case, even as police have registered case vide Khliehriat PS case No 195(11) u/s 307/392 Indian Penal Code which is attempt to murder and robbery.

It may be mentioned that the attack on Kharshiing who is also an RTI activist was the second attack on a social activist in East Jaitia Hills district.

On March 19 this year, RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw, who was the president of the Jaitia Youth Federation (JYF), was attacked and found murdered in Khliehriat, the district headquarter of East Jaitia Hills.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma, including other political leaders and NGOs leader strongly condemned the incident of attack on Agnes Kharshiing and her team.

“We have issued necessary directions to the police and district administration to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack. Civil Society plays an important role in a democratic system as they are instrumental in highlighting the concerns of the people. Violence in any form will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to justice,” Conrad said.

Stating that the opposition Congress party will follow up the case and “leave no stone unturned to ensure these criminals and all the perpetrators of this crime don’t go scot free”. Leader of Opposition urged the authorities to waste no time and ensure the arrest of the criminals and prosecuted as per the law.

Former Meghalaya Home Minister Robert Garnett Lyngdoh said the attack on Kharshiing shows the “seriousness of the illegal mining of coal in Jaintia Hiis’.

“The problem is multi-dimensional and it involves multiple stakeholders. A proper time-bound enquiry has to be constituted and the culprits brought to book. The enquiry should also indicate the economic impact of the NGT ban on the micro-economy there so that corrective measures can be initiated,” Lyngdoh said .

Condemning the murderous attack on Kharshiing and Sangma, the Thma u Rangli Juki (TUR) said, “This cowardly attack on one of the leading anti-corruption and human rights activist of Meghalaya clearly points to the impunity with which mafias are operating in the state under political patronage.”

“It is important to remember that Agnes has been at the forefront of exposing the nexus under which illegal coal mining is happening in the state in spite of NGT orders. This attack is not an abberation but has happened in a calculated manner in the same district where the murder of RTI activist Poipynhun Majaw is yet to see justice,” TUR stated.
Source : UNI


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