Monday, July 22, 2024

KSU members assault labourers engaged to renovate JN Stadium


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SHILLONG, July 9: Labourers, including a technician from a private company in Delhi, were assaulted at JN Stadium at Polo Grounds on Tuesday, causing panic among them and potentially hindering the hosting of the prestigious Durand Cup tournament here.
The labourers were hired for paving work as part of the stadium’s renovation in preparation for the upcoming Durand Cup. They were allegedly assaulted by members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) when they went to check labor licenses.
Shillong is set to host one of the group stages of the 133rd edition of the Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football competition, commencing on July 27. For now, it seems, preparations have been marred by these attacks. It is unclear whether the labourers are willing to continue with the stadium finishing work.
An official involved in organising the Durand Cup group game at the stadium was furious with the unprovoked turn of events. Recounting the incident, the official said that KSU members arrived unannounced, checked labour licences, and resorted to verbal and physical abuse. “A paver operator, who arrived here three days ago to complete the track before the Durand Cup tournament, was assaulted by these individuals. The chief engineer was not present at the site, and within twenty minutes, another group attacked him even as the district magistrate was entering the stadium,” added the official, who wished to remain anonymous.
The official feared that such incidents could incite hatred, noting that many locals work outside the state. “If an organised group attacks an Indian citizen here, what message does it send? Does the KSU president never travel beyond Byrnihat? Is he trying to incite others to retaliate against him outside the state?” questioned the visibly angry official.
The paver technician, identified as Sonu, described the ordeal: “A group of men asked all labourers to gather. I complied, but one guy slapped me, and others joined in, beating me. Later, as I was being escorted to get water, another individual punched and thrashed me.”
Sonu stated that he neither wishes to file an FIR nor stay for the Durand Cup due to this traumatic incident. “I don’t want to be involved in this mess. I’ve spoken to the company, and they’ve advised me to leave immediately,” he said.
The driver, who transported the machinery, was also assaulted and detained for two hours before being released upon presenting his driving licence.
Moreover, in a video obtained by The Shillong Times, KSU members are seen accusing a person from Dalu in Garo Hills of being an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, despite his denial and presentation of a voter ID card and Aadhaar.
Meanwhile, the state police were yet to receive an FIR. “We are expecting them to file an FIR and are waiting to take necessary action,” said a senior police official while confirming that no police action has been initiated so far.


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