SHILLONG: A protest rally taken out by the civil society here on Saturday to denounce the murderous assault on women rights and RTI activist, Agnes Kharshiing and her colleague, Anita Sangma has demanded an independent inquiry into the attack.
It may be mentioned that the protest rally was called to denounce the culture of violence, mining mafia and to demand protection of the environment and human rights.
The protest rally was held at the Additional Secretariat Parking Lot.
Speaking at the rally, former Home Minister Robert G Lyngdoh pointed out that the attack on Kharshiing and Sangma shows that there is much more to the coal mining issue than what appears on the surface.
Lyngdoh called upon the State government to investigate the nexus between the coal miners, police, politicians and coal mine owners.
“It is for the government to ensure that all those who are involved in the crime are dealt with firmly,” Lyngdoh said.
He said that the State government after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on coal mining should have ensured that people who have lost their livelihood be given opportunities to learn other trades.
He also stated that ever since the NGT banned coal mining in 2014, the question of being engaged in the same trade does not arise.
Meanwhile, Angela Rangad of the Thma U Rangli (TUR) questioned the delay on the part of the State Home Minister James Sangma to come up with a statement after the attack on Kharshiing.
“Where is the Home Minister? Does he have to wait for his brother (Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma) to give a statement on the issue?” Rangad asked.
Meanwhile later in the day, Home Minister Sangma visited Kharshiing and Sangma at NEIGRIHMS.
At the hospital Sangma spent time with Agnes’s brothers — John Kharshiing and Francis Kharshiing.
Later speaking to media persons, the Home Minister termed the attack on the two women activists as “barbaric”.
“We assure that we will be taking very serious action (on the attackers) and bring the guilty to justice,” Sangma said.
When asked about the police’s lethargic approach in dealing with an earlier case wherein Poipynhun Majaw, the leader of a pressure group based in the Jaintia Hills who was murdered in March this year, Sangma said that in such cases it takes time to find out those involved.
“While we are investigating the matter care has to be taken that the guilty must be punished and an innocent must not be dragged into any kind of investigation,” the Home Minister said.