7 M’laya policemen injured during public hearing

Correspondent Shillong, Nov 21 | Publish Date: 11/21/2020 12:11:01 PM IST

Seven Meghalaya police personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police and two women constables, were injured after members of pressure groups disrupted a public hearing on expansion of a private-owned Star Cement plant in East Jaiñtia Hills district on Saturday.

Over half a dozen pressure groups stalled the public hearing conducted by Meghalaya Pollution Control Board at old DC’s office at Khliehriat on the proposed limestone and shale mining at Brishyrnot, East Jaintia Hills district.

The hearing was disrupted by a large number of protesters despite senior district police officials along with magistrate trying to convince them not to disrupt the hearing, even as they informed the protestors that they can deliver their speeches inside the venue and as per COVID-19 protocols, 100 people per batch are to be allowed inside the pandal.

However, the protesters reportedly violated all the COVID protocols and ransacked the public hearing venue forcing the District Magistrate E Kharmalki to adjourn the public hearing.

Earlier, the Meghalaya High Court had dismissed the petition of one Shanialang Suchen seeking stay on the public hearing.

East Jaintia Hills District Superintendent of Police, Deepak Kumar Palecha told this journalist over the phone that some people from the crowd provoked the members in front and pelted stones and also hit the police personnel on duty with their flag poles and used violent means to overpower the personnel on duty.

He said the members from the pressure groups then forcibly broke police barricades.

“We tried to control the situation, but in the confrontation seven police personnel were injured,” Palecha said, adding that the police were forced to fire tear gas shells to control the situation.

Meanwhile, the injured police personnel have been identified as Constable Lesterfield Khardewsaw (received serious injury to the head,) constable Nanditha Sangma, deputy superintendent of police headquarters, Jason Myrom, constable Sainlang Jyrwa, constable Bansynshar Lyngdoh, constable Kmensar Mawsor and constable Jigash Sangma.

The district police official said that the injured police personnel are recuperating in the nearby hospitals. “We have made no arrest, but we are looking into video footage to ascertain who started the violence,” Palecha said, adding that a case has been registered against unknown persons and the police are investigating the case.

“The situation at present is normal in the district,” he said.

 Meanwhile, the public hearing could not be completed due to the violence.

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