Cutting across political lines, lawmakers in Assam’s Barak Valley have asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate Friday’s incident in Meghalaya’s Shillong, where a protest by a communal organization turned violent, leaving several people dead. Non-tribals are seriously injured and their vehicles are damaged.
The rally was organized by the United Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) demanding that the state government fill the vacant posts in various departments and provide employment opportunities to the youth.
MLAs from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Barak Valley have cast their votes against the alleged attack.
Assam Congress working president and Karimganj North MLA, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and leaders of both Assam and Meghalaya demanding a proper inquiry into the incident.
On Monday, Dey Purkayastha met the director general of police in Meghalaya and asked him to ensure adequate security for non-tribals living in the state.
BJP’s Krisnendu Paul on Monday wrote a letter to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma demanding a proper investigation by the NIA.
He told HT that attacks on non-Gars and non-Khasis in Meghalaya are not new but have now become annual.
“There must be something bigger behind these frequent attacks and it should be properly investigated. We believe the NIA investigation will be very influential,” said Paul, also the director of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
“We want our first minister to start talking. We will go to the interior minister and the prime minister later, if necessary. We need to bring peace to continue the overall development of the country,” he said. .
TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal, Sushmita Dev also expressed concern over the violence in Shillong. “Peaceful protest is everyone’s right but I condemn the violence,” she said.
She also accused the Meghalaya government of being surprisingly silent on the matter. “I want to ask the government questions about why the regional police remained silent as reported by the media and seen on social media. This is a failure of the Meghalaya government,” she added.
Some videos capturing moments of violence have gone viral on social media and according to the Meghalaya police, many cases have been registered. On Monday, the Shillong police arrested one person allegedly involved in the incident.
Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), which organized the rally on October 28, however, expressed its dismay at the violence and apologized for the attack on the common men.
Apart from legislators, students, social activists and a large number of Barak Valley websites also condemned the violence in Shillong.
Law students of Assam University on October 29 held a parade in the university campus.
Some other groups of students and lawyers staged a sand protest and wrote letters to the Union government and the Assam government.