Mukul orders magisterial inquiry • Govt announces ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh
JOWAI: Two persons including a woman were killed and six injured on Wednesday evening at Mookhep village in East Jaintia Hills when police fired at a mob which blocked the National Highway protesting against the arrest of a person from Wapungskur village in connection with the attack on police and the magistrate on Tuesday night during the economic blockade against the apathy of the Government in addressing the issues related to ban on coal mining.
The magistrate and the police have not collected the bodies till late night due to the prevailing situation even as the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
The State government has also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of the two persons who died in the unprovoked firing, according to a statement issued by the Government.
“A proper inquiry will be conducted to find out actual facts that led to the loss of two innocent lives,” the Chief Minister said while speaking over telephone from New Delhi.
Arson cases followed the firing as two trucks were torched in East and West Jaintia Hills on Wednesday at around 11 pm.
Earlier, the mob damaged a vehicle belonging to Assam Health department.
The victims who were killed in police firing have been identified as Derest Siangshai (23) and a woman, Setmon Phawa (30) both of Wapungskur village.
Those who were injured in the firing include a woman identified as Rashiba Siangshai from Wapungsku village, Pyndap Phawa, Fidalip Dkhar of Iongkaluh village, Ruson Ryngkhlem, a minor from Wapungskur, and Iaraplang Rymbai of Wapungshnong. One Livingstone Rymbai, the secretary of Pamrapaiphlu village was also injured in the incident.
Later, Siangshai, Rymbai and Dkhar were shifted to NEIGRIHMS.
There were no violent incidents on Wednesday morning in East and West Jaintia Hills except pelting of stones on vehicles in several parts in East Jaintia Hills after the attack on East Jaintia Hills SP MK Dkhar and torching of the vehicle of a magistrate on Monday night.
However, the situation turned ugly after the arrest of one Eibun Siangshai of Wapungskur.
Soon after the news spread about the arrest of Siangshai, hundreds of residents of Wapungskur came to the National Highway 44 and started to block the way.
At around 4pm, the road was completely blocked and not even a single vehicle was allowed to pass through.
There were telephonic conversations between the village elders including the headman, S. Ryngkhlem and the police on the situation.
The headman informed the police that the residents of the village were demanding immediate release of the arrested person in order to clear the road.
After the police failed to release the arrested person, as many as 600 protestors at around 5:48 pm started to march from Wapungskur to Ladrymbai police outpost- a distance of around 5 km. Some others have used vehicles to reach the police outpost.
This correspondent, who was on the spot, heard the first warning shot at 5:55 pm. The warning shot was fired at the time when the protestors reached Kyndonsoo- where the mob had attacked the East Jaintia Hills SP on Tuesday night. Later, another round of firing was heard.
The third warning shot was heard at 5.58 pm and a few minutes after, the fourth fire shot was targeted on the protestors which resulted in the killing of villagers.
Following the incident, the crowd came towards this scribe while taking photographs, and shouted, “Kill the Press too”. Fearing the attack, this correspondent, who was alone moved out of the place.
Sources informed that Ladrymbai police out-post has been locked fearing mob attack after the firing incident.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjri informed that the Government has appointed senior IAS officer Tining Dkhar as the Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills as the current deputy commissioner is on leave. The additional deputy commissioner CS Laloo was officiating as Deputy Commissioner. (With inputs from our staff reporter)