Snatched INSAS rifles fished out of Umkhrah river in Shillong
A team of the Meghalaya Fire and Emergency Services on Monday afternoon recovered from Umkhrah river the three INSAS rifles that were snatched on August 15 from police by unidentified persons.
An eleven-member team scoured the area under the Umpohliew bridge on the river in Shillong for about an hour before fishing out the rifles, sources said.
The search was conducted based on an anonymous letter addressed to the headmen of Mawlai Town Dorbar, claiming the weapons were dumped in the river.
The letter also claimed the rifles were found in the possession of a few teenagers in Lawmali.
To save the teenagers from trouble, the rifles were thrown into the river, the letter, a copy of which was sent to the East Khasi Hills police chief and the media, claimed.
The bridge is about a kilometre away from Shillong’s Mawlai locality from where a police vehicle and the rifles were snatched reportedly by four unidentified men.
The rifles were left behind in the police vehicle that the masked men had hijacked from the Mawlai area.
They later drove around the city on the vehicle while brandishing the weapons before setting the car ablaze in Shillong’s Jaiaw.
They were protesting against the killing of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, a former leader of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, by a police team in the wee hours of August 13 at his residence in Mawlai.
The deceased’s family claimed it was a staged encounter, fanning anger and resentment.