The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on September 22 demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the killing of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew to ensure prosecution of all involved in the commission of the crime.
In a memorandum to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, the HYC said, “We demand that the circumstances leading to the death of the deceased should be investigated by an independent investigating agency, other than Meghalaya Police, and if the investigation has already started, then the same should be handed over to the CBI for further investigation and for prosecution of all involved in the commission of the crime leading to the death of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.”
The HYC alleged that the state government had constituted the One Man Commission of Inquiry just to pacify the people of the state following widespread protest and public disruptions due to death of Thangkhiew on August 13, 2021.
The terms of reference of the Commission include ‘to hold an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the police action on 13th August, 2021 resulting in the death of deceased; to give a fact finding report as to the culpability or otherwise of the police action resulting in the death of the deceased; and any other circumstances which are relevant, in the opinion of the Commission’.
The Commission constituted after a period of nine months, finally submitted its findings to the state government.
On the said Report, the Commission had clearly remarked that “the operation was a well laid plan, but executed poorly, recklessly, hastily and without proper application of mind. In other words, it was a botched-up operation..”.
The Commission also remarked strongly that “In my considered view, the post facto excuse that none but the deceased was hurt cannot be a valid justification for carrying out the operation hastily and in a reckless manner by the Tactical Team-I. Therefore, my finding is that the Tactical Team-I in carrying out the operation to arrest the deceased at his residence on 13-08-2021 at about 3 AM was culpable of thoughtless and excessive use of force, which resulted in the death of the deceased, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, which turned out to be avoidable”.
The HYC said the findings of the One Man Commission is very clear that the member(s) of the Tactical Team-I are/is culpable of causing the death of the deceased person and hence they should be investigated into, put to trial and prosecute those involved in this crime as per law of the land.
“It is shocking to see that the state government instead of acting on the observation and findings particularly at Para 34 of the Report of the Commission, is either trying to delay the matter deliberately or is trying to save those involved in this ‘botched up operation’ by issuing the so-called ‘explanation call to the Tactical Team-I’ as per the Memorandum of Action taken on the Inquiry Report,” it said.
The organization said the Commission also remarked in Para 32, “If the primary objective of carrying out the operation was to capture the deceased alive, the manner in which the raid was conducted unnecessarily gives rise to the impression that that was not so. This is very unfortunate,” adding “This remarked in our opinion make us ponder as to the fact that there may be a conspiracy to eliminate the deceased and not to capture/arrest him alive and which we feel that there should be an investigation to unearthed the truth as to whether there was any criminal conspiracy and to prosecute all those involved as per law.”