Uneasy calm in city as people mourn slain militant

SHILLONG, Aug 14: In the aftermath of the sensational killing of HNLC supremo Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, the city has been gripped by a wave of sympathy for the slain militant as the incident triggered repressed anger. There was at least one incident of attack on a police vehicle at Jaiaw, while the whole of Saturday there was an uneasy calm. Rumour mills also worked overtime.
Coinciding with the funeral of the surrendered militant scheduled for 1 PM on Sunday, the ‘Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai’ (Voice of the people of Mawlai) has urged the people of the state to pay tribute to former HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew by observing ‘Black Flag Day’ on Sunday, which is also Independence Day.
Member and social activist, Samran Syiem urged not only the people of Mawlai but everyone in the state to participate in observing Sunday as black flag day.
There were also some messages flooding WhatsApp where people were asked to gather at Golf Link grounds at 8.30 am after which they would proceed to the residence of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.
Making it clear that they had not called for any rally on Sunday, he said that they have merely requested people to come and pay their last respects to Cheristerfield Thangkhiew for the contribution he has made to society.
They also requested citizens to participate in a 5 minute black-out on Saturday at 7 pm, as a mark of respect to Cheristerfield.
“This is to show that we are against the illegal activities of the police in killing Bah Che and also to pay our respects for the contribution he has made to the society,” Syiem said.
‘Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai’ also condemned the actions of the police for assaulting the two sons who were taken by the police for interrogation after the raid-turned-encounter.
The organisation has asked the police to come clean on the incident since the police had earlier in their statement mentioned that two ‘associates’ of Cheristerfield were arrested.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page, ‘U Sangot Kyrsiew Ri’ advised the public to refrain from moving in and around Shillong especially in commercial areas tomorrow the August 15, 2021 as the situation is tense due to the funeral procession of Late Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.
“It was informed that funeral attendants will stage black flag protests and march from different localities of Shillong towards Mawlai and vice versa. In order to avoid any law and order situation please stay at home,” the Facebook page said
When contacted East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, Isawanda Laloo said: “We are aware that the funeral is planned for tomorrow and have been informed of the arrangements. It is requested to everyone to maintain peace in the city and the entire district.”
The Director-General of Police, N. Chandranathan and East Khasi Hills SP Sylvester Nongtnger neither took calls nor replied to messages seeking information about the prevailing situation and security arrangements.
Pressure groups such as the KSU and CoMSO made it clear that they have not called for any type of protest or agitation coinciding with the funeral.
The funeral service will start at 1 pm at Thangkhiew’s residence in Mawlai Kynton Massar.
Meanwhile, unwilling to accept the claim of Meghalaya police that the former HNLC general secretary was killed in a retaliatory police firing after he attacked cops with a knife during the raid, the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) Shillong city on Saturday put up banners at Motphran.
HYC has demanded the removal of Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui and to prosecute the Meghalaya police officials who had a hand in killing the former militant since the organisation felt that the former HNLC general secretary who was killed by the police on Friday, was actually killed in a ‘fake encounter’.
Banners demanding “Justice for Bah Cheris” were noticed at various vantage points. One of the banners read- “If we don’t stand up now, we could be next”.

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