Family of Cheristerfield cries for justice

SHILLONG, Aug 12: Exactly one year has elapsed but the family of slain former HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew is yet to get justice.
His brother Granary Starfield Thangkhiew told The Shillong Times on Friday the family is desperately waiting to know the report of the Justice (retd) T Vaiphei-headed one-man judicial inquiry commission.
“We don’t know if my brother will get justice but we are hopeful the judicial inquiry commission will give a fair report,” Granary said.
He said his family wants the report to be made public at the earliest.
“I have even shared my views in social media. I urge the state government not to delay anymore. If the government wishes, it can convene a special session of the Assembly anytime and table the report,” Granary said.
He said the government is unnecessarily creating tension by delaying in making the report public and his family would not like to see a law and order situation as a result of the same.
“We fear that anti-social elements might take advantage of the situation,” Granary cautioned.
He said the members of the family are yet to come out of the trauma, especially Cheristerfield’s two sons who had witnessed the incident.
“It is extremely difficult for the duo to come to terms of what had happened,” the former HNLC leader’s younger brother said.
Asked about rift among the groups which had taken the lead in the fight for justice for “Bah Che”, he said the family would like to see them stay united. He said groups such as Sur Ki Nong Mawlai, Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun and Ka Sur Ka Bri Hynniewtrep are individually inquiring from the family about the status of probe report from time to time.
“All of them have been with the family since the day my brother died. We are indebted to them for their commitment that they are not going to stop supporting the family until there is justice in the case,” Granary said.
He said his family is hopeful the report will be tabled in the Assembly on September 9. He, however, indicated if they are not satisfied with it, they will explore other available options to fight for justice.
Meanwhile, Granary expressed happiness that the peace talks with the HNLC have finally materialised.
“I would like to share that even my brother was involved in this effort to bring the HNLC to the negotiations process. He used to share with me about his meeting with the officials from various intelligence agencies as they wanted him to act as the facilitator to convince the HNLC to come overground,” the brother said.
He is hopeful the process will help establish lasting peace in the state.
Meanwhile, he said on the first death anniversary, floral tributes will be paid to the slain leader at his graveyard at Lawmali, followed by church service at his residence in the evening.
The Ka Sur Ka Bri U Hynniewtrep has announced three days of mourning from Saturday in memory of the former HNLC leader.
Speaking at a gathering before presenting a short documentary film on the life of Thangkhiew at Mawlai stand bus on Friday, the organisation’s vice chairman Donboklang Kharlyngdoh said they will sport black flags during the three-day mourning.
Kharlyngdoh also accused the NPP-led MDA government of attempting to sweep the inquiry report under the carpet since it is likely that the report goes against the interest of the state government.
Meanwhile, HYC president Robert June Kharjahrin questioned the government’s claim that they cannot make the report public since it has to be tabled in the Assembly first.
He pointed out that the judicial inquiry was instituted by the state government and not the Assembly.

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