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Ichamati killings: Police arrest 2 KSU members

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Union urges its members, family members of the two arrested persons and also the people of Laitkynsew and Sohra to come out in large numbers to the Sohra police station on Wednesday to condemn the arrests

SHILLONG, April 2: The police arrested two members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) in connection with the March 27 alleged murder of two non-tribals at Ichamati under Shella constituency.
The two taken into custody by the police on Monday night were identified as Mesadapbor Skhembil (26), a resident of Sohra; and Shanborlang Shati (26), a resident of Mawlong Sirdarship, Sohra. They are members of the KSU’s South Khasi Hills district unit.
East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Rituraj Ravi told reporters on Tuesday that the two were arrested in connection with the Ichamati incident. He said both were produced in a court on Tuesday and it remanded them in seven-day police custody.
Asked if any more arrest can be expected, he said the investigation is at an initial stage and it will continue. He also said that the police are maintaining vigil to thwart any untoward incident.
“We will not be able to share any other details in the interest of the case,” Ravi said.
The two arrested persons are currently in the Sadar police station in Shillong.
Ishan Singh and Sujit Dutta, who worked in limestone quarries, were stoned to death on that fateful day. The bodies were found at Ichamati and Dalda, respectively.
Earlier, two FIRs were lodged by the families of the two deceased. They had alleged the involvement of the KSU in the incident. They said the incident took place after a protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Ichamati.
The KSU’s South Khasi Hills unit questioned the duo’s arrest.
In a statement on Tuesday, KSU’s South Khasi Hills president Ribok Diengdoh asked why the police had to go to their houses at midnight to pick them up for questioning. He said it appeared the two belong to a terrorist group.
“My question is whether the police would also assault our two members in the same way like they have done to the late HNLC member Cheristerfield Thangkhiew by accusing that they were holding knives if no one from the family members was present when they had entered their houses,” Diengdoh said.
He said people living in rural areas are not familiar with the provisions of the law and the police are allegedly taking advantage of their ignorance. He said the police could have summoned the two at the Sohra police station for questioning.
He asked why the police took them to the Sadar police station when they told their families they will be taken to the Sohra police station for questioning.
“We will not accept this as the police are trying to frame the members in the alleged killing of the two people. We have nothing to do with it. We would also warn that the police should not book (them) under any section of the law until they have been able to find out the real culprits who committed the twin murder,” Diengdoh said.
The police cannot arrest them going by the statement of someone and without any evidence, he said.
He questioned the police for going to his house when he was away in Shillong for some work.
“I am not hiding. My question is why the police did not summon me when I was in my village the entire week,” Diengdoh asked.
He further said that he will go to the Sohra police station on Wednesday before 12.30 pm.
He urged the members of the union, family members of the two arrested persons and also the people of Laitkynsew and Sohra area to come out in large numbers to the Sohra police station to condemn the arrests. He said the police should prove they are the murderers.
“I want to make it very clear that I have come from an upbringing where my parents have not taught me to go and kill people when I grow up,” Diengdoh said.
Questioning the police for hurriedly releasing the names of the two arrested persons, he lamented that the police are yet to arrest those who had allegedly killed former KSU member Lurshai Hynniewta as seen in a video clip.
Meanwhile, Delisha Shati, elder sister of Shanborlang Shati, was critical of the police. She asked why the police had picked up her brother at 1.15 am.
She said after she had reached the Sohra police station, she was surprised to learn that the two KSU members were taken to Shillong.
According to her, her brother, who works in Ichamati, would visit home once a week.
“We are in the dark as the police have not told us why he has been arrested,” she told reporters.

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