Why Meghalaya is burning after a former militant’s death?
Clips of violence and arson from Meghalaya surfaced on the internet on 15th August 2021. The situation turned violent after the death of Chesterfield Thangkhiew, former leader of a banned militant group HNLC on August 13. Hundreds of people joined his funeral procession in Shillong. A local organization called for a ‘black flag day’ to protest against Chesterfield’s killing.
A petrol bomb was thrown on Sangma’s home
Tension escalated in Shillong and nearby areas after Thangkhiew’s killing. A petrol bomb was hurled at Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s private residence in Shillong on August 15.
However, no one was hurt because the house was vacant and the CM stayed at his official residence. As per reports of TOI, say that a group of unidentified people pelted stones at a police vehicle near Mawlai bypass.
The attackers carrying arms took control of the vehicle after the policemen fled and vandalized the gates of police outposts. Reports of News18 quoted that stones were pelted at vehicles plying on the Guwahati-Shillong highway.
As the situation intensified, the District Magistrate of East Khasi Hills was forced to impose a curfew in Shillong. The curfew came into effect on August 15 from 8 pm till 5 am on August 17. The Meghalaya home ministry ordered a 48-hour suspension of internet services.
Meghalaya home minister resigns
Following the unrest, State Home Minister Lahmen Rymbui submitted his resignation on Sunday. In a letter, Rymbui urged Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma to initiate a judicial inquiry into the incident. Meanwhile, Meghalaya Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of the incident.
Who was Chesterfield Thangkhiew?
Chesterfield Thangkhiew was a former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader, a banned insurgent group.
HNLC claims to fight for the Khasi-Jaintia tribal community. He had surrendered in 2018 before then Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong. Chesterfield was killed during a police raid on August 13, 2021.
A report of TOI says, he allegedly tried to attack police personnel with a knife during a raid at his house. The cops have accused Chesterfield of being the mastermind behind the blasts after his surrender. The raid was conducted in connection with a series of IED blasts that took place in Meghalaya in July and August 2021.
The police said that Chesterfield Thangkhiew was shot in the abdomen after he attempted to stab a constable during a raid.
However, his family and supporters blame the police for Thankhiew’s ‘cold-blooded murder’. The locals also describe this incident as a ‘fake encounter’ by police.
3 Cops Suspended in Shillong
CM Sangma suspended three police personnel as they surrendered their arms after being attacked by the angry mob. He said, “A policeman should consider his weapon as a unified part of their body. The government will probe an inquiry against them.”
The miscreants also snatched the rifles and a car of policemen and drove it across the city. Later, they vandalized and torched the vehicle.
Helpline numbers are also released by Meghalaya police for the people stranded in Shillong.
Helpline Numbers for citizens stranded in Shillong.
Kindly reach out to these numbers for any kind of assistance. pic.twitter.com/69fc1ujutN
— Meghalaya Police (@MeghalayaPolice) August 16, 2021
In a recent tweet, Assam police have also advised people of Assam not to travel to Shillong amid curfew.
Important update for those planning to travel to Shillong. https://t.co/NRit7O0Waj
— Assam Police (@assampolice) August 15, 2021