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Meghalaya govt orders judicial inquiry into Nov 8 attack on RTI activist

PTI shillong India
Updated: 26-11-2018 21:36 IST

The Meghalaya government decided Monday to institute a judicial inquiry into the circumstances that led to the November 8 attack on RTI activist Agnes Kharshiing and her aide Amita Sangma allegedly by the coal mafias in East Jaintia Hills district.

Both Amita and Agnes are recovering in the ICU of the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences following the attack.

"The cabinet has decided to institute an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the incident in East Jaintia Hills district (on November 8)," state Home Minister James P K Sangma told mediapersons.

He said, "We are very concerned about the situation, which is why we have decided to go for a fact-finding inquiry."

The process to institute the inquiry would begin from Tuesday and was likely to be headed by a retired high court judge, officials said.

The home minister said the modalities of the inquiry would be worked out by the Political department in consultation with the Law department.

The cabinet decision came hours after the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment (CWE) recommended Monday the institution of an independent inquiry into the incident.

The recommendation was made as the investigation was "very slow" and there were too many "missing links" in the case, CWE chairperson Ampareen Lyngdoh said.

The committee will also submit a preliminary report of its findings before Assembly Speaker Donkupar Roy at the special session Tuesday.

Asked about a district leader of the ruling National People's Party (NPP) named as the "mastermind" of the attack by Amita, the home minister, who is also the party spokesperson, said, "I can assure you that the law will take its own course and action will be taken irrespective of the person's party affiliation."

He said the police were actively pursuing the matter, adding, "There is no bias in the investigation just because he belongs to a political party."

The NPP leader said the party would take a collective call on the matter provided its district leader, Nidamon Chullet, was "found guilty without reasonable doubt".

Agnes and Amita were critically injured after they were attacked by a group of 30-40 people, led by suspected coal mafias at Shohshrieh village. The incident took place after the duo stopped by to take pictures of coal-laden trucks on the roadside.

Amita had Sunday accused Chullet of "masterminding" the attack. She has also written a letter to state Director General of Police R Chandranathan about the incident and said Agnes and she continued to live in the fear of Chullet.

Chullet is the NPP working president in the district. He also functions as the headman of Mynkrem village, besides heading the Jaintia Hills Truck Owners' Association.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)