Meghalaya asks CBI to probe police firing

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Shillong, Aug 6: The Meghalaya government today announced a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the twin police firing, even as the Garo Student's Union demanded punishment against government officials involved in the firing.

Nine people, including women, were killed while scores injured on September 30, 2005 in the twin police firing incident at Tura and Williamnagar over the issue of revamping and restructuring the Meghalaya Board of School Education, which has its headquarters at Tura, West Garo Hills district.

At Tura, four people were killed in police firing and several others injured. In Williamnagar, the district headquarters, East Garo Hills, another five were killed in police firing.

'' The Cabinet has unanimously decided to ask the CBI to investigate into the killing of the nine people to ensure justice to the bereaved families,'' Meghalaya Finance Minister Conrad K Sangma told reporters.

Today's cabinet decision assumes significance in the wake of the GSU demanding punishment against those officials involved ''directly'' or ''indirectly'', and demanding a fresh probe into the Williamnagar firing incident, besides declaring September 30 as a state holiday as a mark of respect to the victims.

The influential student body had launched its series of agitation pressing the government to comply with their demands.

In fact, the previous Congress-led government had instituted a judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe the September 30, 2005 police firing at Tura and Williamnagar, even as the then Deputy chief minister in charge of home and education Dr Mukul M Sangma resigned owning moral responsibility, following protest from the NGOs and the public over the firing incidents.

On April 19, 2007, former chief minister DD Lapang tabled both the reports in the state assembly. In his 121 page report on the Tura firing incident, Justice D N Chaudhuri criticised the administration and the police for use of 'excess' force leading to the death of four innocent people in Tura. However, no action had been taken against those indicted by the inquiry commissions.

Unlike, Justice Chaudhuri, Justice (Retd) D N Baruah, who probed the Willamnagar incident said, the measures taken by the administration were ''just and proper.'' '' We are satisfied with the Tura report, but the Williamnagar report was biased. That's why, in the interest of the people, we want the CBI to probe it,'' Mr Sangma, also the government spokesman, said.

'' Since both the reports did not bring justice to the affected people in Garo Hills, the government has decided to handover the case to the CBI,'' he asserted.

Several Garo hills-based NGOs had demanded a fresh probe into the Williamnagar incident, alleging that the report submitted by Justice (Retd) D N Baruah was 'incomplete' and 'partial'.


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