Congress MLAs in Meghalaya walk out over ‘encounter’ death
Opposition Congress MLAs in Meghalaya staged a walk-out from the Assembly on Wednesday after the Speaker disallowed discussion on the demand for suspension of the police officials allegedly involved in the killing of a former militant leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew in the wee hours of August 13 at his residence in Mawlai in Shillong.
Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh disallowed the shot duration discussion sought by Congress’ Mawlai MLA P.T. Sawkmie on the ground that the matter was sub judice, triggering noisy scenes and sloganeering against the government.
In support of his demand, Sawkmie had pointed to home minister Lahkmen Rymbui’s reply in the House on Tuesday on the encounter death of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) general secretary if the matter was sub-judice.
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma accused the government of trying to protect senior police officials blamed for what the family of the deceased rebel leader had claimed was a “fake” encounter. He said removal of the police officials was required for a free and impartial investigation.
The Congress taking a stand on the issue inside the 60-member House, sources said, would further bolster the campaign being led by the eleven pressure groups from Mawlai seeking “justice” for a former HNLC leader killed in a “fake encounter”.
The groups, under the banner of Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai (The Voice of Mawlai People) have been steadfast in their demand for the suspension of three senior police officials allegedly responsible for the encounter death. The groups had even sought the help of 35 MLAs seeking their support to get the cops suspended.
Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui had in response to a queries on the encounter death, including Sawkmie, on Tuesday had said that police’s mandate was to prevent a crime and arrest the accused, not to kill the accused.
Sawkmie had asked whether any instruction was passed to the police to arrest or kill the former rebel and how many cops were involved in the operation.
The Meghalaya government has ruled out any action against anyone till the report of the judicial commission probing the encounter submits its report.