They protested against ‘fake’ encounter
The knives were literally out for Conrad K. Sangma’s National People’s Party-led coalition government in Meghalaya on Monday evening.
An umbrella body of civil society groups in State capital Shillong took out a ‘knife surrender’ rally to protest the government’s failure in suspending senior police officers responsible for the killing of former extremist leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew in an alleged fake encounter on August 13.
The umbrella body is called Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai. Its constituents are from the large Mawlai area of Shillong where Thangkhiew was killed.
The knives surrendered to the local authorities were symbolic of the sharp weapon the police claimed Thangkhiew had used in attacking them. By this action, they wanted to call the alleged bluff of the police.
The police had said they shot Thangkhiew at his residence in self-defence as he had pulled out a knife and attempted to attack the personnel.
Local groups have since been demanding action against the senior police officers, including two Superintendents of Police, but the government ordered a judicial probe instead.
The protestors said the rally was also against the show-cause notice served by the administration of the East Khasi Hills district on six leaders of the umbrella body for holding public gatherings in violation of COVID-19 protocols. On the day of Thangkhiew’s funeral (August 15), parts of Shillong witnessed sporadic incidents of violence.
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