By The Editor
On Tuesday November 22 early morning at about 7am a group of Assam Police personnel without any warning at all had opened fire on simple villagers of Mukroh, West Jaintia Hills killing three of them on the spot while two were injured and succumbed later on. Among the deceased was also an unidentified forest guard of Assam. Other two who are in serious condition have been shifted to Barato CHC (Community Health Centre) and Ialong Civil Hospital. According to sources at around 2:30 am of same day Assam Forest department had been chasing a truck towards Mukroh suspected to be smuggling timber and when they did not stop they were fired to deflate the tyres which took place at Lumpalang, two kilometers from Mukroh. Then the truck came to a halt and forest officials apprehended three of the occupants from Mukroh village and took them into custody. As the day broke, and news of the arrest spread, large group of Mukroh villagers rushed to Lumpalang and at same time Assam Police team also arrived to tow away the truck carrying timber. Demanding that the trio be released followed by heated exchange of words the Assam police opened fire indiscriminately. Later in the day the trio were released after a case against them has been registered.
State government has strongly condemned the unprovoked firing and an FIR (First Information Report) has been registered by Meghalaya Police. District magistrate and Superintendent of Police, West Jaintia Hills district also rushed to the spot as soon as they received the tragic news. Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui visited the spot and shared his report from there. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has appealed to citizens of the state to pray for the departed souls especially families who lost their loved ones. He urged citizens to maintain peace and harmony. Trinamool Congress (TMC) Legislature Party leader and Opposition leader Dr. Mukul Sangma rushed to Mukroh village on same day to comfort families who have lost their near and dear ones and urged both sides to preserve peace at all cost. Khasi Student’s Union (KSU) in Barato/Mukroh which has been long pending issue and Black Flag Day has observed in entire Khasi-Jaintia Hills on November 23.
As mark of respect to departed souls state government has suspended all official programmes till November 30 and all festivals in any part of the state have been cancelled. Cabinet delegation will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 24 to apprise him of the incident. Delegation will also met National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and submit the report as well. Chief Minister Conrad K.Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar, and Revenue and Disaster Minister Kyrmen Shylla have visited Mukroh village on November 23 and handed over ex-gratia to bereaved families. Cabinet has demanded for investigation to be made by Central Agency and Special Investigation Team (SIT) will be constituted headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Easter Range to investigate FIR case. Assam government has suspended Officer-in-charge (OC) of Police Station and Forest Range Protection Officer and transferred Superintendent of Police (SP), West Karbi Anglong district. It will also take necessary steps to investigate into the matter in consultation with Meghalaya government.