Judicial panel’s report to be tabled in Assembly on Sept 9

THANGKHIEW’S KILLING

SHILLONG, Aug 5: Months after Justice T Vaiphei placed the report on police killing of former militant Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, and refusing to make it public, the state government has willy-nilly decided to table it in the Assembly next month.
The report of the one-man judicial commission that probed the killing of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader will be tabled on the first day of the autumn session of the Meghalaya Assembly.
“The session will start from September 9 and the report will be tabled in the House that very day,” Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Friday after meeting the members of the Sur Ka Bri Hynniewtrep (SKBH).
“They wanted the report to be made public immediately. I explained to them that we have to go by the guidelines,” Tynsong said.
“The inquiry commission report will become public property after it is tabled in the House. I told them to wait till next week when the Business Advisory Committee meets,” Tynsong said.
The deputy CM said the judicial panel that probed the ex-HNLC leader’s killing could have been the fastest ever in the state to submit its report. This, he insisted, underlined the commitment of the MDA government to reports by inquiry commissions.
“A judicial inquiry commission is different from the standard inquiry committee. The commission is guided by certain rules and so are we, particularly in the case relating to Thangkhiew’s death,” he said.
He said the report of a judicial inquiry commission is similar to that of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the state government cannot make it public unless it is placed in the Assembly.
On allegations of lack of transparency as the officers involved in the killing were not suspended as demanded by the people for ensuring an impartial probe, Tynsong said: “A series of meetings was held at that time and we told the stakeholders to let the commission report be submitted for the government to act as recommended.”
He denied any move to delay the submission of the report. “The state government did extend the term of the commission, but it was because of the chairman’s request,” he said.
Before the meeting with Tynsong, members of the SKBH, unhappy over not getting an appointment, shouted slogans and displayed placards seeking justice for Thangkhiew. They were called in by the deputy CM after about an hour of demonstrating outside the secretariat gate.
Later, SKBH organising secretary Thomas Passah said, “The government has promised that the report will be placed in the House on September 9 and the people may have access to the report in the afternoon.
The SKBH members decided to study the Inquiry Commission Act of 1952 to know how it restrains the state government.
Passah argued that under the circumstances, the government could have called a special session of the Assembly in May as such delays make the people raise questions on transparency.
“We are anxious about the report since the government failed to suspend the police officials involved. In order to ensure transparency, we believe the officers should have been suspended,” he added.

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