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SHILLONG: Police have picked up 11 suspects in connection with the assault on youths in Lawsohtun.
In a statement issued on Saturday, police said that a case has been registered at Laban police station under sections 326/307/506/34 IPC following which 3 suspects were picked up on Friday and 8 suspects on Saturday for interrogation.
“The statements of the victims as well as the bystanders have been recorded and further investigation of the case is in progress”, the police said.
The police have also appealed to witnesses to come forward in helping the investigation team to ascertain the facts and circumstances of the case and to help in identifying the perpetrators of the crime.
“The identity of those who are willing to help the police team will be kept as confidential and will not be disclosed”, the police said. Police have also issued warning to individuals who incite or breach communal peace and harmony, ‘as stringent action as per relevant provisions of law will be taken against them’.
Narrating the incident, police said that on Friday several youths hailing from Laban and adjoining areas went to play basketball at Block VI in Lawsohtun, however around 12.30 pm, 20-25 unidentified boys who had already gathered at the basketball court started assaulting the youths with iron rods and sticks, resulting in sustaining of injuries by Arindam Deb, Subharshi Das Purkayastha, Saptarshi Das Purkayastha, Binak Deb, Bishal Ghosh and Prittish Deb.
The police team, on receiving information, rushed to the place of occurrence and on reaching Sericulture Office, they saw two youths, Bishal Ghosh and Saptarshi Das Purkayastha, who had managed to escape from the basketball court.
The police team on seeing their condition rushed them to Woodland Hospital for medical assistance and the other four victims were also taken to the same hospital.
Was there a violation of COVID-protocol?
Some free-thinking people have questioned why the boys at Lawsohtun who were beaten up on Friday were playing basketball which is a contact sport.
They were left wondering whether it constituted a breach of Covid protocols.
While Meghalaya has been observing the national protocols as far as sporting activities are concerned implying that contact sports like basketball and football are still not being played. However, practising dribbling or shooting in a basketball field may not necessarily violate social distancing.
When asked if basketball is permitted to be played, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, M War Nongbri said, “Not everything on every aspect of life has to come as a directive from the Government. If young people are told to observe social distancing while playing games, to disinfect the ball they are playing with, disinfect their hands and not touch their faces with their hands, among other things, I see nothing wrong with playing basketball.
Sports Associations and the local Dorbars could also brainstorm on how to engage their youth in productive activities without violating the COVID SOPs,” War Nongbri added