Citizens who converged to express solidarity and condemn the brutal attack on social activist, Agnes Kharshiing and her associate, Amita Sangma resolved to demand for an independent inquiry into the incident and nab all culprits within no time.
Well wishers and a few concerned citizens assembled at a car parking lot near Additional Secretariat for the protest and said that the government has to take the responsibility for the attack on the two women, who are now in critical condition. It was demanded that free medical treatment should be given to both them.
The gathering demanded that sections of the law related to criminal conspiracy and common intention should be included in connection with the case registered against the attack on Agnes and Amita.
Police have registered the case only on attempt to murder and robbery at Khliehriat police station.
So far only two accused have been arrested in connection with the attack, where a group of 30 persons had attacked Agnes and Amita with an intention to kill them.
Agnes and Amita were attacked on November 8 at Sohshrieh in East Jaiñtia Hills district after they returned from Lad Rymbai where a complaint was lodged against illegal mining and illegal transportation of coal.
The attackers thought that Agnes and Amita have died, and left them in a jungle few metres from the National Highway after they attacked them.
Till filing of the report, Agnes is still battling for her life and being kept on ventilator, while Amita is stable and she has been able to speak now.
Apart from an independent inquiry into the incident, they also demanded a separate inquiry into illegal mining activities which have been going on since 2014 till date despite the ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal.
Former home minister, R.G. Lyngdoh said that the attack on Agnes and Amita showed that illegal coal mining is continuing and demanded that proper probe to unravel the nexus of coal mafias with police and other higher authorities.
“I strongly feel that the incident shows that illegal coal mining is something much more below the surface than what we see. There is a need to really do some deep investigation to find out who all are involved in this (nexus),” Lyngdoh said.
The speakers also questioned the government and home minister, James K Sangma for keeping quiet on the incident.
The speakers also recalled the murder of RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw on March 19 this year, and suspected that the coal mafias got the courage from that incident since police did not take action and no one has been arrested till date.
“May be the mafias have bought all including law enforcers so that their illegal activities can go on smoothly,” one of the speakers said.
Pariat, said that if the government is not serious about maintaining law and order, it is of no point to have a government.
Former church leader, P B M Basaïawmoit said that human rights activists have been targeted everywhere because both state actors and non-state actors look at rights activists as people who do wrong things.
Former FKJGP president, Joe Marweiñ condemned the attack on Agnes and Amita, and said that the incident would further inspire social activists to work more for the interest of the majority.
Angela Rangad said that there are people with conflicting interest in the government and did not doubt that illegal activities are allowed to happen all because of nexus.
Maitshaphrang leader, Michael N Syiem, Editor of The Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim other individuals also spoke out against violence and giving the criminals impunity even as they asked the government to ensure that the “culture of violence and mafia rule’ has no place in Meghalaya.