During a pre-dawn operation, two persons have been arrested in Kongong area of Meghalaya on Friday in connection with the murder attempt on Meghalaya’s prominent woman activist Agnes Kharshiing and two others in East Jaintia Hills district.
According to media reports, the two suspects arrested in connection with the case have been identified as Elphon Dkhar and Meklison Siangshai.
A report published on Friday by NDTV quoted Sylvester Nongtnnger, the police chief of East Jaintia Hills, as saying: “A suo moto case was taken up by police since the victims are not in position to file an FIR as they are in a serious condition. We are interrogating the two arrested persons and a manhunt is on to arrest the other attackers.”
The report also quoted officials at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), where activist Agnes Kharshiing is undergoing treatment, as saying that she was still in a “critical condition” while the other two persons – her aide Amita Sangma and driver E. Kurbah – were stable.
It quoted NEIGRIHMS spokesperson K.K. Pandita as saying: “Kharshiing is on ventilator. The condition of the other two is stable.”
It may be mentioned that Agnes Kharshiing and the two others were attacked by suspected coal mafia in Jaiñtia Hills on Thursday when they were returning from Lad Rymbai in East Jaiñtia Hills district. The trio was seriously injured in the incident.
They were first taken to Jowai civil hospital in West Jaiñtia Hills district. But later they were rushed to NEIGRIHMS, about 8 km from Shillong.
The incident happened at Tuber Sohshrieh, a village in East Jaiñtia Hills district bordering West Jaiñtia Hills district.
Reportedly, they were attacked at around 2 pm when their vehicle stopped at Tuber Sohshrieh and took pictures of some coal-laden trucks that were parked there.
They were attacked by a group of people with sharp objects and suffered serious injuries on the head and other parts of the body.
“We had no idea what has happened exactly except knowing that she was seriously injured,” Agnes’s elder brother John F Kharshiing had said earlier.
The attack on Agnes, who is also an RTI activist, was the second attack on social activist in East Jaiñtia Hills district.
On March 19 this year, RTI activist Poipynhun Majaw, who was the president of the Jaiñtia Youth Federation (JYF), was found murdered in Khliehriat, the district headquarter of East Jaiñtia Hills.
Incidents of illegal mining have allegedly been taking place in the coal-rich areas even though the ban on coal mining and transportation of extracted coal by the National Green Tribunal in Meghalaya is still effective.
The ban by the NGT came into force since April 17, 2014.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma strongly condemned the incident of attack on Agnes Kharshiing and her team.