SHILLONG, Feb 27: The South West Khasi Hills police have so far arrested five people in connection with the assault and murder of a labourer in the district on February 24 night.
G.K. Iangrai, Assistant Inspector General of Police (A) said two people were arrested on Saturday along with one of three who were detained earlier on suspicion of involvement in the attack on eight labourers from Assam on the St Xavier’s College campus at Shait-Shait Umoid, 15 km from the district headquarters Mawkyrwat.
Two more had been arrested on Friday and two others have also been picked up for interrogation. More are expected to be arrested soon.
Police said two of the arrested persons are members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) while the third is its former member. They, however, said it was not yet clear if they acted on behalf of an NGO or because of personal enmity over local issues.
The three arrested on Saturday hailed from the Diwah area where the incident had happened. They were identified as Kharbani, Disparland Kharbani and Daniel Myrthong.
The FIR on the assault said 20-25 masked men had attacked the labourers. But the police said the room of the college where the labourers were sleeping hardly had space for 10-12 people.
The eight labourers from Ujanghagrar Char in Assam’s South Salmara-Mankachar district had arrived at the college on February 19, Iangrai said.
The headman, secretary and other members of Umoid had requested the college authorities not to keep the labourers in the village until “some arrangement” was made.
The college authorities obliged and shifted the labourers to Nativity School in Mawkyrwat. The labourers returned to the college campus at 7:30 am on February 24, a day after the village authority granted permission for them to stay and work. The incident happened that night, at about 11:30 pm.The miscreants fled after attacking the labourers with knives and tools. One of the labourers – Raju Mondal – succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital in Shillong while seven others suffered serious injuries.
The local authorities sent the seven home and handed over Mondal’s body to his kin.
Iangrai said a case under sections 447/450/324/326/302/34 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.
“Investigation is on to establish the identity of the other persons involved in the crime,” he said, appealing to the people to refrain from taking law into their hands. He warned of stringent action against those who try to disturb the communal harmony in the state.