Meghalaya MLA faces rape charge

Congress seeks his removal from various Assembly committees.

The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya has demanded the removal of an MLA accused of raping a woman from the committees of the 60-member Assembly.

The police on Tuesday confirmed that a woman had lodged an FIR against National People’s Party (NPP) legislator Thomas Sangma for allegedly abusing her sexually.

The NPP heads a coalition government, with the BJP as a constituent. The legislator, representing the Tura Assembly constituency, is also the chief advisor to Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma.

In a letter to Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, former Minister and senior Congress leader Ampareen Lyndoh said the Tura MLA must be removed from the House committees because of the seriousness of the charges against him.

Mr. Sangma is the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Estimates and a member of the Committee on Public Accounts.

“When a serious accusation of this nature arises against a member of this Assembly, it shocks the conscience of society and puts a huge expectation on the representatives of the people to ensure that principles of accountability are held in utmost regard,” Ms. Lyngdoh wrote.

“As the chairperson of the Assembly Committee for the Empowerment of Women, I am committed to ensuring that justice is not denied especially to women,” she said.

To drive home her point, Ms. Lyngdoh cited the removal of former MLA Julius Dorphang from a few House committees in 2017 after an FIR was filed against him for sexual assault.

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