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GSU calls 9-hr bandh

Shillong, April 28: Pushing its case for a fresh probe into the Williamnagar police firing, the Garo Students Union (GSU) has called a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills on Monday, to protest against the “inaction of the state government” to concede to its demand.

At a public rally held at Williamnagar on Thursday, the union decided to go on a “token strike” from 6 am to 3 pm on Monday. “The agitation has been called to demand an impartial inquiry into the killings in Williamnagar,” GSU publicity secretary Apu R. Marak said.

Nine persons, most of them students, were killed when police opened fire on people who had gathered at Tura’s Chandmari playground and Rongrengre playground in Williamnagar on September 30, 2005 to protest against the state government’s stand on restructuring the Meghalaya Board of School Education.

Four of the protesters fell to police bullets at Tura in West Garo Hills, while five others died at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills district.

The D.D. Lapang-led coalition government had instituted separate judicial inquiries — headed by Justice (retd) D.N. Chowdhury for Tura and Justice (retd) D.N. Baruah for the Williamnagar incident — the findings of which were tabled in the Assembly on April 19.

While Justice (retd) Baruah gave a “clean chit” to the Williamnagar district administration and the police, saying that the mob had attacked the security personnel forcing the latter to open fire, Justice (retd) Chowdhury squarely blamed the West Garo Hills administration for the incident.

Yesterday, the GSU’s east zone unit met the chief minister at the Tura circuit house, urging him to order a fresh judicial probe into the Williamnagar incident.

Thursday’s rally was chaired by GSU east zone president Zackaria D. Areng. President of the Garo Mothers’ Union of Williamnagar, Mehaline S. Marak, also addressed the rally and extended her support to the cause.

The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party and several NGOs have also demanded that the inquiry be reinstituted, alleging that the report submitted by Justice (retd) Baruah was “incomplete” and “partial”.

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