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Congress demands probe panel on Shillong violence

Debabrata Saikia writes to Meghalaya governor seeking protection for the non-tribals living in the region

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 06.11.22, 01:15 AM
Debabrata Saikia

Debabrata Saikia File picture

A Congress leader from Assam, Debabrata Saikia, on Friday wrote a letter to Meghalaya governor Brigadier B.D. Mishra (retired), seeking “proper steps” to protect the rights of the non-tribals living in the neighbouring state in the wake of the attacks on commuters and passers-by during an unemployment rally in Shillong on October 28.

Saikia, who is the leader of the Opposition in BJP-ruled Assam, in the letter demanded that an “explanation regarding the recent incidents must be called from the government” led by Conrad Sangma besides constitution of an inquiry committee to “ensure” proper investigation of the incidents that rocked Shillong last week.


The influential Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) had held the rally protesting unemployment in Meghalaya and demanding a government policy stipulating job reservation in the private sector for indigenous youth.

However, the rally witnessed stray incidents of assault on innocent passers-by along the route, leaving two persons injured and sparking off widespread criticism of the state administration over the violence.

The National People’s Party (NPP) leads a seven-party coalition government in Meghalaya in which the BJP is a constituent. The BJP had also condemned the violence in Shillong in which non-tribals were targeted.

“Through this letter, I would like to request you to kindly initiate proper steps to protect the rights of the non-tribal people of your state. As the Head of your state, your words and actions in this matter will be highly appreciated,” Saikia wrote in his letter.

Saikia has cited media reports which alleged that the police were “mute spectators” during the attacks on passers-by along the route of the rally.

Referring to the 2018 violence that erupted in Shillong’s Harijan colony after an “argument” between a Khasi bus driver and a Sikh resident, Saikia said: “While the Indian Constitution guarantees every citizen of India with fundamental rights to protect their right to life and personal liberty under Article 21, the current trend in the steps of Meghalaya Government clearly violates it.”

Meghalaya, which goes to polls early next year, was carved out of Assam in 1972.

Police have registered three suo motu cases in connection with the violence and also arrested five people till Thursday. It has also questioned two FKJGP leaders in connection with the violence.

Soon after a security review by chief minister Sangma on October 31, the East Khasi district administration on Monday banned rallies within Shillong city limits to “prevent any NGO/ group or untoward elements from blatantly misusing such rallies/processions to indulge in criminal acts thereby disrupting public order.”

Before Saikia, Assam Congress working president Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha had met the Meghalaya DGP LR Bishnoi on October 31 with a request for “protection of the life and property of non-tribals” living in that state and take “immediate, necessary action against those involved in Friday’s violence in Shillong.”

A BJP MLA from Assam, Krishnendu Paul, on the other hand, had written a letter to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking a NIA probe into the “attack on innocent people, non-tribals in particular”..

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