Shillong ( Meghalaya ) , Feb 26 : One labourer was killed and seven others injured when a gang of around 15-20 masked men armed with knives and tools attacked them on Wednesday night while they were fast asleep in St. Xavier’s College campus in Umoid village around 15 kms from Mawkyrwat in South West Khasi Hills district.
All the workers were from neighbouring Assam and had all valid documents of entry to the state .
Meanwhile , Police has nabbed three suspected culprits and the institute has been declared shut.
1 labourer identified as Raju Mondal aged 20 years of Ujanghagrar Char in Assam’s South Salmara-Mankachar district, succumbed to his injuries within a few hours in the hospital.
The seven injured are Aminul Islam (35), Abul Mondal (29), Bahadur Sheikh (32), Abdul Bari (42), Shahinoor Alom (21), Yeasin Mondal (45) and Amir Hussain (24) – all from the same village as the one who died have been referred to Shillong Civil Hospital .
The incident occurred at 11:30 pm when the gang of masked men entered the campus and beat them by using daggers and other sharp weapons . The miscreants came in a sumo .
According to the institute authorities , the labourers had come on February 19 for constructing the college administrative block and the girls’ hostel building after obtaining permission from the licensing officer of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council’s Labour Department.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the college authorities said they had sought the approval of the Chief Minister, Home Minister and Law Minister besides top officials before the arrival of the labourers. The school authorities had also met the leaders of some NGOs, including the Khasi Students’ Union and the Hynniewtrep Youth Council to explain the need for these workers.
The deputy commissioner and local leaders were also kept in the loop.
At every stage they were assured of the safety of the workers, acknowledging that their intentions as an educational institution were genuine and the purpose was not to run a for-profit business. All the workers possessed work licenses mandated by the state and every procedure was followed, the college authorities said.
“St. Xavier’s is committed to the advancement of the local communities and to advancing the educational aspirations and employment opportunities of the youth. On occasions when the school authorities, despite their sincerest efforts, have inadvertently overlooked any requirement, they have readily apologized and tried to resolve the problem. However, violence is not an acceptable solution to any problem, no matter what it is. A threat to the life or wellbeing of an innocent worker is not a price that the authorities are willing to accept,” the statement said.
“The members of the Managing Committee have been informed about the unfortunate developments and are working with the Jesuit authorities to find a mutually acceptable solution. Until a satisfactory solution is found, the Education Council of the Jesuit Society for North East India has resolved that all work in Umoid will indefinitely be kept on hold, including the running of classes,” the statement added .
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma has promised strict action against the culprits .“We will ensure that action is taken so that in the future, such incidents don’t happen. People involved in this will be brought to justice,” he added .