Traders shut shop in protest against extortion, assault by GSU

Williamnagar student body denies charges, files FIR

TURA: Citizens of Williamnagar town in East Garo Hills were left stranded and unable to purchase any provisions after the entire market closed down for the day, on Thursday, in protest against what the market committee alleged was an extortion attempt by a student body and the assault on a trader.
The secretary of the Williamnagar market committee filed a police FIR accusing members of the Garo Students Union of extortion and assault on a barber on Wednesday.
The GSU in Williamnagar has denied the allegation and has also filed an FIR accusing the secretary of the market of violating peoples’ rights with the closure. It violates a High Court directive which had banned bandhs and any form of closure that affect people’s lives.
SP of East Garo Hills, R T G Momin told The Shillong Times that secretary of Williamnagar Main Market Merchant Association, Lahitson N Marak, filed an FIR alleging that GSU members had demanded money from each shop which was opposed by the merchants. He added that the FIR also mentioned about the assault on a barber by student members over non-payment of money.
“The market committee secretary filed the police FIR against the extortion demand and assault of the barber and we have registered a case,” said the SP.
Meanwhile, the GSU leadership in Williamnagar has denied the accusations of extortion.
“The barber was called to our office because we wanted to verify his credentials since he had come from outside and was not willing to produce any documents when we had previously asked him,” said GSU president of East Zone Siljrang Marak.
Marak added that the market secretary took the opportunity to close down the entire market without verifying with the GSU and other organisations over the allegations.
The GSU along with the FKJGP, AAYF, AYC and Indigenous Citizens Forum of Simsanggre (ICFS) jointly filed a police FIR demanding the arrest of the market secretary for closing down the entire market and causing hardship to the citizens.
Williamnagar police have registered both the FIRs. The market is expected to open on Friday.

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