Meghalaya Home Minister, James K. Sangma visited social activist, Agnes Kharshiing and her associate, Amita Sangma at NEIGRIHMS and said that such “barbaric and cowardly acts of violence” would not be tolerated by the Government.
James met the family members of Agnes including her brothers, John Kharshiing and Francis Kharshiing at the Intensive Care Unit of NEIGRIHMS and the children of Amita Sangma.
Condemning the attack, the Home Minister assured that stern action would be taken against those involved in the attack. He also has assured all possible assistance to the family of the victims.
“We are taking up the case very seriously and investigation is on with two arrests having already been made. We will ensure that justice is accorded to the victims,” the Home Minister assured while stating such barbaric and cowardly acts of violence will not be tolerated by the Government.
Following the attack on the activists, the Home Minister had cut short his tour and arrived in Shillong on Saturday to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, the Home Minister did not make any commitment to the demand to have a judicial inquiry or CBI inquiry into the attack and illegal mining.
He said that the government will discuss and take decision on this.
Earlier, the Government had denied that illegal mining was taking place.
Reacting to query on this especially when Agnes had been sharing pictures to media of such illegal activities including trucks ferrying coal illegally, Sangma said that the matters have to be looked into, whether illegal mining or illegal transportation.
He said that Government was very serious on this matter and would look into it.
On allegations that failure of police to take action on the murder of RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw on March 19 this year has given coal mafias the courage to attack Agnes and Amita on November 8, Sangma said, “Investigation required certain amount of time. While investigating into the matter, care has to be taken so that the guilty is punished and an innocent is not dragged into the wrong side of investigation.”
“We are monitoring the situation very closely both the murder of Majaw and this particular case. It would be wrong to say that the investigation is slow or it is not being done in a proper manner. We are investigating this matter still, and I hope will have some headway,” he added.
On nexus between coal mafias and police which led to the attack especially after Agnes and Amita had filed a complaint with police in East Jaiñtia Hills district on that day (November 8), James Sangma said, “I do not want to go into any kind of comment on this whether there is a nexus or not. This matter has to be looked into, and only after it is investigated, and if there is prove then only I would like to say about that. As of now, I do not want to make any statement based on speculation.”