Shillong, Sept 14: The Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Tuesday witnessed a heated debate during the Question Hour on a query raised by Congress MLA Mohendro Rapsang concerning the report of IED blast in Shillong.
Rapsang had questioned whether there was any intelligence report of IED blast in Shillong recently. He also sought the response of the government if it was affirmative.
Responding to the query in the affirmative, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said the field units of the state police department had been alerted to take necessary preventive measures immediately.
On Rapsang’s query on failure to take preemptive action, the Home Minister replied that all police stations and police outposts had already marked vulnerable areas but the blast that occurred at Laitumkhrah wasn’t expected.
Clarification on ‘lapse’ statement
Rapsang further probed the Home Minister to clarify about his interview with the media wherein he had mentioned about ‘lapse’.
Replying to this, Rymbui clarified that “press asked if there was intel failure, I responded in the negative. We had inputs that someone will try to trigger a blast in city, then we took all precautionary measures. Again like I said we didn’t expect it to happen in that area hence the lapse to avoid the blast.”
Involvement of late Cherishterfield Thangkhiew
Questions were once again raised about the involvement of late Cherishterfield Thangkhiew in the blasts and also about the timing of the raid carried out at his residence.
Rymbui informed the House that they had a lead that Thangkhiew was involved in that blast and that’s why police took precautionary measures. He added that they had credible inputs that blast would occur on August 12 and 15. So police had to act swiftly so that necessary safety and security of the people was there.
Raid based on inputs and urgency
Rapsang asked was it not necessary for department when they knew that a suspect is involved to pick him up for interrogation and avoid carrying the raid at night?
Rymbui said the time of raid, time of arrest and urgency of matter is upto the police department. They had credible inputs, hence, they acted accordingly.
Police have no right to kill any person
Mawlai constituency MLA from Congress party, PT Sawkmie also joined in asking the Home Minister whether the instruction was given to arrest or kill Cherishterfield Thangkhiew and how many police were involved.
To this, Rymbui informed, “The police have no right to kill any person. The job of police is to prevent crime and arrest the culprit. It is upon the Court to decide.”
Adding that what had happened on August 13 morning was unfortunate, Rymbui informed that a judicial inquiry has already been constituted and actions will be taken once the report is out.
Details of IED blast
Replying to Congress legislator from East Shillong, Ampareen Lyngdoh’s query about the extent of the IED blast and who was responsible, the Home Minister informed that the IED blast at Laitumkhrah was 1.524 kg of high explosives gelatin. He added that three have been arrested and investigation is going on.
“Matter is under investigation and HNLC also claimed responsibility,” added Rymbui.
Congress MLA, HM Shangpliang asked if the Home Minister wasn’t aware of this operation then with whose approval did the police department conduct the raid. At the same time, he stated that the Administrative prudence demands that officials or cops involved in the excess by causing death to a suspect, the government should have taken action against such officials by a way of suspension or send them on leaves. So, he wanted to know what the government was doing about it.
To this, Rymbui said they (police) are mandated as per law and it is their duty to gather evidence and nab the culprits if any suspect is there.
He also stated that the intention was to prevent and take measures to avoid any more blast and also to arrest culprit. He, however, told the members of the House that at this juncture it is better to wait for the judicial inquiry to complete and wait for the report for necessary action.
Mukul’s queries on mechanisms
The Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma questioned if the government was ever monitoring the activities of Thangkhiew after he surrendered.
Dr Mukul asked when dealing with such a situation wherein an ex-militant has surrendered if any exercise of counseling was done or not to ensure that they don’t slip.
Adelbert Nongrum loses his cool
During the course of the questions and answers during the Question Hour, MLA Adelbert Nongrum got into a heated debate and kept demanding the Home Minister for specific answers.
To which the Chief Minister stood up to intervene and said that it was inappropriate for the MLA to behave like this.
“A judicial inquiry is going on. Process needs to be followed. One can’t stand up and get emotional here. Based on report we will take necessary action,” the Chief Minister stressed.