HYC public rally takes an ugly turn; six held for instigating crowd
SHILLONG: Several people including women were injured after police launched a lathi charge at the crowd after the public meeting which was held at the Laban Sports Club ground on Friday evening.
Police also arrested six people including five women after they were accused of allegedly instigating the crowd to go on a rampage.
The problem cropped up after police prevented the crowd from taking out a procession near the Shillong Civil Hospital Junction since there was imposition of 144 CrPC in the area.
Passers-by including media persons present at the venue said the lathi-charge was premature since the crowd was not aggressive. Besides, there were several elderly women amongst them.
The District Police had earlier cautioned that anyone attending the meeting, especially school children, would be doing so at their own risk.
Ironically there were not too many women police personnel to tackle the women agitators. As a result of the lathi charge some innocent people who had come to visit relatives at Shillong Civil Hospital were also injured.
The women who suffered injuries and were shifted to Shillong Civil Hospital included R. Kurbah, Shirita Wanniang, Adelin Nongrum, Carolin Nongrum, Merciful Khain, Jovi Syiemlieh, Christabel Dkhar and Banari Khongwar.
Apart from the women, some HYC leaders and other youth were also injured in the incident and were shifted to the Civil Hospital. They include Kershanlang Lyngskor, Markos R Myrthong (Asst. Socio-Cultural Secretary of HYC), Nickson Dohling (HYC Organising Secretary), Donbok Kharlyngdoh (HYC vice president), Gilbert Myrboh, Mawdonald Kharkongor and F. Mawlong.
East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police, M. Kharkrang, when asked if the situation warranted a lathi charge, said that the organizers and the supporters were hell bent on violating Section 144 CrPC orders of the district administration which prohibits the assembly of four or more persons in and around the Civil Hospital Junction.
Kharkrang justified the use of force stating that it was imperative to ensure rule of law.
According to Kharkrang, permission was granted to HYC to hold the rally at Laban Sports Club from 1 pm to 3 pm on Friday but the organizers went beyond the prescribed limit as the rally ended at 5 pm.
Moreover, the district police chief said they were supposed to disperse after the rally and not to gather at Civil Hospital Junction, but the organizers and supporters, mostly women, continued towards the Junction.
The female volunteers instigated the crowd, resulting in mild lathi charge against the protestors by the police, Kharkrang said.
The police official claimed that the crowd even assaulted the SP (City) Vivek Syiem and pushed other women police personnel aside.
While five female volunteers were arrested by the police, a male person was arrested for allegedly punching the SP (City), Kharkrang said.
Apprehending trouble the district administration had deployed a large number of police and CRPF personnel around the Kiang Nangbah Memorial – Civil Hospital Junction area.
The police had barricaded the whole area and prevented people from entering the venue where former KHADC CEM Adelbert Nongrum along with five others have been holding an indefinite hunger strike to demand passage of the KHAD (Village Administration) Bill, 2014.
In a late night statement, the East Khasi Hills district administration claimed that attempts were being made by certain elements to circulate rumours among the sections of the population that during the course of enforcing Section 144 CrPC as promulgated by the District Magistrate, the modesty of some women activists were alleged to have been outraged.
The statement clarified that such allegations were baseless and unfounded as the women leading the unlawful procession had violated the Section 144 CrPC and in the process were involved in a skirmish with the women security personnel.
The security personnel were compelled to resort to use of force to disperse the unruly crowd with the sole attempt of preventing any breach of peace, the statement said.
“The public are requested not to believe any rumour being spread maliciously by people who wish to create disaffection against the police and the Government,” the statement concluded.