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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Mysterious silence


A few months back, the Sur Ka Bri Hynniewtrep (SKBH) had expressed disappointment over the delay in the independent inquiry into Cheristerfield Thangkhiew’s murder which the Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission had taken cognisance of. Nothing seems to have moved since the encounter took place. The commission headed by retired Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, Justice T Vaiphei, however, appeared ‘serious’ about completing the inquiry at the earliest, but for reasons best known  to it, the state police department is trying to delay the matter.

I feel ashamed — as a police officer myself — to admit that this isn’t the first time our department has buried a heinous crime. Who can forget the infamous murder of our very own P J Marbaniang? Or even Fullmoon Dhar, Ïohbianhun Sahkhar and the more recent Daisy Shallam murder case for that matter? Meghalaya Police has time and again denied burial of “the truth” to cover up its blunder.

As a police officer, who has sworn to serve the state with integrity, I’ve generally found my colleagues to be honest, helpful and professional, but these are cases where some clearly weren’t. I was working on a case a few months back when the murder of a young girl, Daisy Shallam from Lapalang locality here in Shillong, came to my attention. The whole thing came to light when — as they say in the crime world — an informant contacted me. Three things subsequently became evident:

* The girl, who was found dead inside her car with a chullah and a fake suicide note beside her, did not really commit suicide as state police announced, but was actually murdered. Her murder is definitely one of the most well designed that I’ve come across so far.

* The unfortunate — an educated girl with no criminal record — had incidentally, accidentally discovered evidence linking a well known personality and his nephew to a sex racket. Information suggested that some of my colleagues involved were trying to make sure what she knew and had in her possession wasn’t discovered by the media or the general public.

* Unlike other post mortem reports, all related information subsequently (depending who you talked to) either disappeared or “wasn’t available.”
The grieving family of young Daisy Shallam on the other hand, were misled by investigators where they were first told that their loved one had committed suicide; later the family was further misled whereby the police silently cleared the name of the main suspect, a nephew of a sitting MLA, whose obscene video is the reason innocent Daisy is dead.

Though Meghalaya Police has used several excuses, public assessment concludes that their “wise decisions” are part of a deliberate effort to prevent public protest and erase any enduring reminders of the incident. So, in trying to gather more information, I tried to cross-examine my colleagues handling the case. I found them professionally pleasant, but unable or unwilling to provide useful information.

In the process of attempting to do my part of the investigation, some things started happening. And here, frankly, it’s hard to separate reality from the ensuing paranoia. The Daisy murder case is closed as we know it. No proper investigation was conducted. No arrests were made. Beyond this, I learned one rather scary thing — You get a very lonely feeling when you’ve broken no laws, but the people who most threaten you are the very people who are supposed to protect you.

As a police officer, a Meghalayan and a fellow human being, this letter is my final attempt to bring out the truth. I request family members of Daisy Shallam to go all out and push the government for a fair and independent CBI inquiry.

Name withheld on request

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