Spl Court moves at snail’s pace

Rs 31-cr ILP damage suit pending for over 5 yrs

SHILLONG: The damage suit filed by the state government against the pro-ILP groups in the state in 2013 is expected to proceed further only once the case is endorsed to a magistrate.
Sources said the Rs 31-crore damage suit was earlier tried by the Special Court which was set up for the purpose but now powers have been given to all the magistrates to try the case under the Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order (MMPO) Act and once the case is endorsed to a magistrate, it will proceed further.
It is learnt that out of several witnesses only five have been examined.
It was on November 7, 2013 that the Special Court was notified by the state government.
The case was filed against 14 pressure groups for the damage to both private and public properties during the agitations by them over implementation of ILP in the state.
The 14 NGOs against whom the cases have been filed are All India Garo Union (AIGU), Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO), KSU, FKJGP, GSU, HNYF, Synjuk Seng Samla Shnong (SSSS), All Jaintia Youth Welfare Organisation (AJYWO), Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF), Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU), Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF), Khasi Women Welfare and Development Association (KWWADA), Association of Democratic Empowerment (ADE) and A·chik Youth Welfare Organisation (AYWO). Among the 14 pressure groups, only CSWO, SSSS and AIGU had contested the case.
The government based the case on the various clauses of Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order Act and the Supreme Court order banning bandh and other forms of agitations and more than 100 cases were filed by the police.
While the police promptly registered as many as 129 criminal cases against the sponsors of ILP related agitations under MMPO Act, 92 cases were charge sheeted on a fast track mode in 2014. Simultaneously, the court also followed up the damage suit.
However, in 2015, the state government withdrew 92 cases filed against the leaders of several pressure groups for damage to property of individuals and the government, arsons and assaults resulting in injuries among others during pro-ILP movement of 2013.
Three people died in the agitation. While two of them died after miscreants hurled petrol bombs, a lady died of suffocation due to smoke after miscreants threw a petrol bomb in a shop in the city during the period.

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