TURA, Mar 07: Angry residents of the town of Resubelpara in North Garo Hills burnt down police and fire and emergency service vehicles, a temporary battalion shelter along with the Resubelpara police station in retaliation for some over-zealous policemen non-fatally shooting three daily wage earners late on Monday evening.
According to sources, the daily wagers were returning from the town of Krishnai in Assam through the Khaldang road into Resubelpara when they saw the 3 layered ‘Naka’. While the police maintained that they were asked to stop in the first and second naka, their refusal to do so led to the policemen at the last layer opening fire on them.
The residents however clarified that there was no warning to ask the car to stop and the firing was indiscriminate. They also added that when the vehicle and three people in the vehicle were hit, the driver took the Bolero Camper into the Resubelpara CHC. The policemen however continued to follow them and even shot them on the route before beating them up in the CHC as well.
It was only after the policemen were told that they were only civilians that the beatings stopped and the police personnel retreated.
Immediately after the incident became known, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of NGH, Dalton P Marak along with the DSP reached the spot where the doctors asked for the victims to be moved to Guwahati, which was duly done with policemen escorting the three there for treatment.
“We had information of William Sangma (who had earlier evaded arrest by running away in a vehicle which was asked to stop) and had duly set up a checkpoint, close to the Belpara Baptist Church (on Khaldang road). However at about 10:30 when we asked the vehicle to stop it refused to do so. Three people were injured during the incident and they have been rushed to Guwahati and are said to be out of danger” said the SP.
Meanwhile immediately after the news became known, a mob began to gather outside the CHC and on learning what happened, immediately began to mobilize.
The mob then torched police vehicles (both government and private), one fire tending vehicle, temporary battalion quarters along with their belonging as well as the rooms of the Resubelpara Police Station.
“Thankfully, the most important documents are safe or we would have been in very deep trouble. Even now property documents and a few rape cases have been burnt which will require a lot of double work,” added a police source from Resubelpara.
The situation however was diffused later on Tuesday morning though not before residents of the town took out a protest against what they termed as ‘the excesses of the police’ while also condemning the SP, Dalton Marak over the issue.
Meanwhile, a conglomeration of organizations on Tuesday served a two – day ultimatum to the state government to transfer the SP while holding him responsible for the incident besides also demanding that the police personnel involved in the incident are sacked.
The state government on its part has assured that it will institute a judicial inquiry into the incident.
“We will have a judicial inquiry and apart from the support system being provided to all the injured victims, the compensation policy will according be implemented,” Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma said in the Assembly on Tuesday after veteran Congress legislator Salseng C Marak urged for a proper judicial inquiry into the matter while participating in the discussion on the incident after a suo-moto statement by the home minister.
Expressing deep concern on the incident, Marak, who is also a representative from Resubelpara constituency, further demanded that necessary financial assistance be extended to the victims.
“It is really a sad incident and I was very disturbed after getting the information (late last night). I am thinking of going down (to Resubelpara) and try to see that peace and tranquility is maintained,” he said.
Earlier in his suo moto statement, the home minister HDR Lyngdoh assured that a magisterial enquiry will be conducted into the incident.
However, opposition NPP legislators James K Sangma and Nihim D Shira also strongly demanded that judicial inquiry should be set up and ensure responsible police personnel are taken to task.
Giving detailed information on the incident, the home minister said that the incident took place at Resu-Khaldang at around 10.30 PM when police were conducting a Naka checking based on inputs about movement of an armed militant William Sangma.
The victims have been identified as Milseng Sangma (35), Tubal Sangma (29) and Janrak Sangma (27). He said they have been referred by the CHC and were shifted to International Hospital, Guwahati for better treatment.
According to him, the place of occurrence is also very close to the border with Assam and there is a lot of militant activity by various militant organizations such as ULFA, GNLA, NDFB and other splinter groups.