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Govt orders judicial probe

SHILLONG: The government has ordered a judicial probe into the police firing on three civilians in a village in North Garo Hills and subsequent vandalism of both public and private properties by the crowd gathered at Resubelpara police station on Monday night.
Soon after the question hour in the Assembly, Speaker A.T Mondal announced about the zero hour notice tabled by Nihim D. Shira (NPP) regarding the violent incident in Resubelpara and added that Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh was also ready with a suo motu statement on the matter.
Shira said the government should institute a judicial probe into the incident besides adequate compensation should be given to the injured victims for their treatment.
He also demanded action against the police personnel responsible for the incident.   Senior Congress member S.C Marak, who is the local MLA, said he received the information about the incident, which was caused by some misunderstanding, at 11.30 pm on Monday.
Marak said there is a need to have a judicial probe into the incident and other confidence building measures will have to be initiated. The injured people need money and the government should provide financial assistance to the victims, he added.
The MLA also volunteered to go to Garo Hills to meet the NGOs, church and local leaders to ensure law and order. He hoped that people will co-operate in the government’s confidence building measures.
NPP’s James Sangma said the incident clearly shows that the police personnel are trigger happy. “How can police resort to firing when there was no provocation from the other side,” Sangma asked.
In line with Marak’s views, Sangma said the government should order a judicial probe instead of a magisterial inquiry as proposed by the Home minister.
To this, the chief minister replied that he has been monitoring the situation from Monday night.
He said the government will order a judicial probe and ensure necessary support to the injured persons. He appealed for the support of the people to bring back normalcy.
The chief minister said such an incident had not happened in Resubelpara in the past. Senior officers have been deputed to assess the situation, besides the DGP and the chief secretary are monitoring the developments.
Earlier in his suo motu statement, the Home minister said based on inputs about the movement of William Sangma, checking was conducted at Resu-Khaldang road on Monday by police from around 8 pm. The checking party had asked the vehicle to stop but when it sped away, they started firing, he added.
“All three were admitted in ICU and the hospital authorities informed that they were in stable condition,” the Home minister said.
According to the Home minister, the situation at present has been brought to normal. The deputy commissioner and the DIG (Western Range) rushed to the spot and reviewed law and order. The DC is meeting church elders, community leaders and members of the NGOs in the interest of bringing peace and amity. Senior police officials have also proceeded to Resubelpara.
The Home minister said a magisterial inquiry will be conducted into the incident.
Asserting that North Garo Hills has recently seen a lot of militant activities, Lyngdoh said, “There was an encounter on February 25 with a notorious militant Singbirth Marak alias Norok who had formed a new militant outfit namely United Achik National Front (UANF). Similarly, another dreaded terrorist William, who is responsible for a number of kidnappings and other crimes in Assam and Meghalaya had an encounter with North Garo Hills Police a couple of days back and sophisticated weapons and ammunition were recovered from the place of encounter.”
He also said the place of occurrence of the incident on Monday is very close to the border with Assam where several militant groups, like ULFA, GNLA, NDFB and other splinter groups, are active.
“Our police force has been working under very challenging circumstances and they had acted with restraints and earned public goodwill,” the Home minister said, while appealing all sections of people to maintain peace.
He also sought the support of the members of the House to deal with the challenges posed to the internal security by militancy so that peace and normalcy is restored in the state.

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