Kharshiing still critical, two suspects arrested

SHILLONG, Nov 9: Police has picked up two suspects in connection with the attack on RTI activist Agnes Kharshiing and her colleague Anita Sangma in East Jaintia Hills district.

Police said that on Friday, early morning raids were conducted at Kongong and surrounding areas where two suspects – Elphon Dkhar (22) and Meklison Siangshai (26) were picked up.

Police said that they will be forwarded to Court and the investigation officer has prayed for five days police custody to ascertain the involvement of other persons.

“A suo motu case was taken up by police since the victims are not in position to file FIR as they are in a serious condition,” police said.

In this connection a case was registered vide Khliehriat police station case No 195(11) u/s 307/392 IPC which is attempt to murder and robbery.

“Considering the seriousness of the case it has been endorsed to a Deputy Superintendent of Police for investigation,” authorities said.

According to authorities in North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Kharshiing is still in a critical condition.

Her colleague, Sangma and the driver who accompanied them are stable.

Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon a steady stream of visitors was seen visiting the family members of Kharshiing who are stationed in the hospital.

Moreover, the attack on Kharshiing and her colleague has drawn condemnation from several quarters.

Meghalaya Peoples’ Human Rights Council (MPHRC) while condemning the attack on Kharshiing and her associate Anita Sangma in the strongest terms possible said, “The climate of fear created by such attacks by the perpetrators has threatened to silence few independent voices to enjoy a climate of impunity within our State” said MPHRC Chairman, Dino D.G Dympep.

The Council stressed that the “extreme seriousness” of the attack warranted a thorough, prompt and a fair investigation by bringing the suspected perpetrators to justice in fair trials without delay and providing effective remedies and adequate reparations to the victims.

“It is an imperative that these barbaric attacks, injustices and gross human rights abuses be seriously addressed by the government,” the MPHRC said.

The North East Network (NEN) pointed out that Kharshiing has been working relentlessly for years to bring the issue of illegal coal mining in the state to light.

The NEN also stated that her work has made her a target of the coal mining mafia in the state even as it urged the government to take strict action against the perpetrators and to do what is necessary on illegal mining activities before such attacks become an everyday incident.

“The Government must ensure that impunity is not granted to the coal mining mafias in the State. All efforts must be made to ensure that citizens of the State are protected and have faith in the criminal justice system,” the NEN said.

Meanwhile, the children and family members of Kharshiing, expressed their sincere gratitude to the general public, NGOs, senior state government officials, family members for their prayers and cooperation during their visit to NEIGRIHMS.

They have also appreciated the IO8 Ambulatory service, police and district authorities, the doctors and entire staff of Civil Hospital Jowai, NEIGRIHMS for having extended all possible help for the speedy recovery of both Kharshiing and her colleague Amita Sangma.

The family members have also appealed for due space to be provided by social media during their time of critical but stable recovery.

Moreover on Saturday, there will a “citizen’s protest” against the murderous attack on the duo.

The protest will be held at Additional Secretariat Parking Lot at 11 am.

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