Tura, May 13: Meghalaya police today arrested the live-in partners of Jaynie Ningring N. Sangma and Babiana M. Sangma, who are in judicial custody for illegal confinement, torture, kidnapping and criminal intimidation of 12 women who were branded as “sex workers”.
The two men, Kennedy Marak, 47, and Sapon Marak, 42, were arrested from Babupara locality here at 4pm today. Sapon is a former A’chik National Volunteer’s Council (ANVC) cadre.
The duo have been charged under Sections 365 (kidnapping, abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine a person), 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 343 (wrongful confinement for three days or more), 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons).
The West Garo Hills SP, Mukesh Singh, said, “Both have confessed that they were involved in partnering with the five activists arrested on Friday. They were arrested for abetment and criminal conspiracy. They have confessed that the women were beaten up with bamboo sticks.”
They confessed that the 12 women, aged between 18 and 24, were confined at Jaynie’s house in Danakgre, on the outskirts of Tura town. The women were held captive for eight days and subjected to inhuman torture. They had bruise marks on their body.
Jaynie’s 15-year-old son was arrested along with two others — Balsang S. Marak, 20, and Pohit Marak, 25 — last evening from Damalgre, about 16km from here at 8p, based on information filed by a victim who is six months pregnant.
The case of Jaynie’s son is being treated according to the Juvenile Act.
“She has lodged an FIR today. The victim said they had asked her to accompany them for counselling at Sampalgre locality here,” said Singh.
“The case of the three arrested for influencing the victim will be dealt with separately,” said Singh.
The five arrested will be produced in the court tomorrow. “Both the cases will be dealt with separately. Kennedy and Sapon were arrested based on the earlier statement of the victims,” he added.
The three, who were arrested yesterday, have spilled the entire conspiracy. “We are interrogating them to get to the crux of the issue. All legal procedures are being followed,” said Singh.
The government and the Meghalaya State Commission for Women yesterday ordered two separate inquiries into the alleged captivity and the torture of the 12 women.
The high-level inquiry committee is being headed by commissioner and secretary M.H.K. Marak.
Social welfare minister Deborah Marak said, “The committee will have to inquire into allegations made in local newspapers and the nature and extent of injuries to the victims and suggest suitable remedial measures.”
The committee has been given 30 days to submit its report.
Besides, the Meghalaya State Commission for Women chairperson Theilin Phanbuh said vice-chairperson Gamchi Marak and another member, Angela R. Ingty, would conduct a holistic investigation into the incident.
Although no time frame has been fixed for this team, Phanbuh said it would complete the probe as early as possible.
West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi on Saturday constituted a magisterial inquiry, headed by Dadenggre sub-divisional officer Sibhi C. Sadhu.
Two extra assistant commissioners, Tengchi Momin and Rojalinda D. Shira, will assist him. Sadhu has been asked to submit his report within 30 days.
The five activists — Jaynie Ningring N. Sangma, Babiana M. Sangma, Merryln D. Shira, Konica S. Sangma, and Lonavi R. Sangma — were arrested on Friday and were sent to 14 days’ judicial custody.