The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur has expressed ‘deep condemnation’ at the brutal attack on Agnes Kharshiing, president of Civil Society Women’s Organization on Thursday last at East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya during her documentation of illegal coal mining and corruptive practices.
Her companion Amita Sangma was also attacked.
Agnes Kharshiing was brutally assaulted by a group of people at Tuber Shohshrieh of East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya on Thursday, while documenting the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the area.
The attack reportedly took place after Agnes took photographs of several trucks loading coal illegally in Tuber Shohshrieh area in Meghalaya.
The attack has left Agnes with serious injuries in her head and body. She is under treatment at the NEIGRIMS Hospital in Shillong and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit due to her serious condition.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur expressed its concern with the increased case of targeting of human rights defenders across India’s Northeast, which involves direct targeting of community leaders and the curtailing of the functioning of human rights organizations, undermining the crucial role of civil societies in Meghalaya and across Northeast.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur has also urged upon the Government of Meghalaya to take urgent steps to investigate and arrest those involved in the attack of Agnes Kharshiing and her companion Amita Sangma.
The centre further urged the Meghalaya Government to stop illegal mining of coal and limestone in Meghalaya.
The centre also said that the Union Government should stop all forms of harassment and targeting of indigenous human rights defenders and curtailment of the functioning of human rights organizations and uphold the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1999.
The Government should take urgent steps to protect the rights of human rights defenders in Meghalaya and across India’s North East, it stated.
Agnes is a well-known human rights defender, proactive in denouncing illegal mining of Coal and Limestone in Jaintia Hills and other parts of Meghalaya in clear violation of the National Green Tribunal and other environment laws.
There are serious concerns that the attack was carried out by the coal mafias operating in Meghalaya, who opposed to exposition of illegal coal mining and corruption.