Home » News » Section 144, Internet Ban, HM Resigned: What’s Happening In Shillong and Why?

Amid complete unrest, the Meghalaya government has imposed Section 144 and has also suspended internet services in the four districts of the state.

The situation in Shillong and neighbouring areas turned worse on Sunday over the protests against the encounter of the former leader of a banned militant group, Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

“A curfew under section 144 of the CrPc would be in effect in Shillong from 8 pm Sunday to 5 am Tuesday on account of “incidents of stone-pelting, arson and theft, and a serious breakdown of law and order in parts of Shillong city”,” stated Isawanda Laloo, DC, East Khasi Hills district.

“Mobile internet services would be banned for 48 hours in East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills, and Ri-Bhoi because of “incidents of vandalism and arson,” said another notification from C V D Diengdoh, Secretary, Home Department.

Independence Day Violence

Hundreds of people joined the funeral of former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew who was killed three days ago in a police operation. People wore black clothes and were on road with black flags observing August 15 as Black Flag Day.

The unrest has been brewing in Shillong since Saturday evening as some unidentified people attacked a police vehicle. Several pictures and videos of miscreants stone pelting, attacking, and vandalising police vehicles went viral on Sunday. One SUV, a police vehicle was set ablaze. Two petrol bombs were also hurled on Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s private residence in the Upper Shillong area on Sunday night.

“Fake Encounter”, “Cold Blooded Murder”, and “Extra-Judicial Killing”

Thangkhiew’s family has alleged it to be a “cold-blooded murder” by the police and localities have also described it as a fake encounter. Hynniewtrep Youths’ Council (HYC) also demanded justice for slain militant.

However, the police submitted that they had evidence regarding Cherishterfield’s involvement in the IED blast that injured two in Shillong last week. Exerting its right to private defence, the police shot Cherishterfield’s abdomen after he allegedly tried to stab one of the constables during the raid on August 13.

Meghalaya Home Minister Resigned

Amid the unrest and sporadic violence in the state, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui submitted his resignation on Sunday and sought a judicial probe to bring out the truth.

“I hereby express shock to the incident where Chesterfield Thangkhiew was killed following the raid of police at his residence exceeding the lawful tenets of the law. I would like to request you to relieve the Home [Police] Department from me with immediate effect. This will facilitate a free and fair inquiry taken by the government to bring out the truth about the incident. I propose a judicial inquiry be conducted,” Rymbui wrote.

MHRC Took Suo Moto Cognisance

Meghalaya Human Rights Commission has taken the suo moto cognisance of the matter and has sought a detailed report from the chief secretary, Government of Meghalaya within 15 days.

“The instant case appears to have resulted in gross human rights violation which according to Article 21 of the Constitution mandates for protection of life and personal liberty for every person within the territory of India,” said MHRC.

Who was Cherishterfield Thangkhiew?

Cherishterfield Thangkhiew was a founding member and former general secretary of the banned armed group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) which demanded sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya.

Thangkhiew was considered as Meghalaya’s most dreaded militant and was hiding in Bangladesh for several years. He surrendered before Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong in Shillong in October 2018.

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