Meghalaya rights activist injured in coal mafia attack

Correspondent Shillong, Nov 8 | Publish Date: 11/8/2018 11:54:40 AM IST

Meghalaya powerful women’s rights activist, Agnes Kharshiing and her two companions were brutally assaulted in a coal belt area in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday.

Medical officials at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences said that Kharshiing is in a critical condition with cut injuries on her skull bone and other injuries in her body. Her companion Amita Sangma also suffered severe injuries besides their driver E Kurbah, who is also para legal volunteer, are admitted in NEIGRIHMS.

“A group of 30 40 people, including women who are mostly dealing with coal trade attacked us at Lum Sohshrew area around the coal depots after Kharshiing went and lodged a complaint at the Lad Rymbai police station on the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the district,” Kurbah said.

“We were waylaid by a three to four vehicles and they later dragged us out from the vehicle. They snatched away our mobile phones. They kicked and punched us and Kharshiing was hit by a log from behind. It was a scary incident,” Kurbah said.

R Chandranathan, who took over as Meghalaya police chief on Thursday said that he has directed the local police to register a case and to bring the perpetrators to book .

“A police officer at the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police will investigate into the incident,” Chandranathan said.

The attack on Kharshiing who is also the Chairperson of Civil Society Women’s Organisation, an influential women’s group, was the second attack on social activist in East Jaiñtia Hills district.

On March 19 this year, RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw, who was the president of the Jaiñtia Youth Federation was attacked and found murdered in Khliehriat, the district headquarter of East Jaiñtia Hills.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma strongly condemned the incident of attack on Agnes Kharshiing and her team.

“We have issued necessary directions to the police and district administration to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack. Civil Society plays an important role in a democratic system as they are instrumental in highlighting the concerns of the people.” Sangma said.

“Violence in any form will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to justice,” the statement said.

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