Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma on Tuesday asked the state government to consider the popular demand for immediate suspension of the top police officials to ensure a free and fair investigation into the firing incident that led to the death of the former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew on August 13.
“The people are right in asking and demanding the suspension of the senior officers because they can have the power to influence the junior officials and the subordinates,” Sangma told reporters.
Stating one has to understand how the police organization works, he said, “The people of the state understand it very well that’s why they are precisely asking the government to ensure the so-called free and fair investigation otherwise it may not be free and fair. It will be a waste of time and you landup spending so much money.”
His statement came in the backdrop of the ongoing protests by the Sur Ki Nong Mawlai and people from across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills region against the state government’s adamant attitude to suspend the top police officials.
The state government had maintained that action will only be taken after receiving the report of the judicial inquiry instituted to probe into the circumstances that led to the death of Thangkhiew.
Sangma said that there will be expenditures incurred from the public exchequer as any commission of inquiry doesn’t come free.
“Therefore you will have to understand the likely outcome of the inquiry… whether the inquiry will be accepted by the people and if it is not accepted by the people then you will go back to square one,” he said.
“Therefore, the government of the day must understand the gravity of the demand of the people and understand from a legal perspective how the legality aspects including the various laws that are available for them to refer to including the pronouncement of judgement of the different courts including the apex court,” he further asserted.
According to him, governance is not something which can be taken as “chalta hai type of job” it is a serious business as it involves the interests of each and everyone.
“That is why the government of the day must take cognizance of the relevances of demand and proceed further so that we are able to ensure that peace is restored in the state capital and the whole state as from what I see is that same voice is echoed from all parts of the state not just from Mawlai. Therefore, take cognizance of the voice of the people in the true spirit of democracy,” he stated.
On the other hand, the Leader of Opposition said that Thangkhiew should have been given the right to defend himself.
“…even the criminals who are accused are also eligible to get legal aid…What I am trying to say is that anybody who is accused of having indulged in any unlawful activities is also given all the necessary support by the state itself in order to defend himself under the various provisions of the law of the land,” Sangma said even as he added that the dynamics of the investigation will unfold during the process.