Five-day Shillong sitting ends

Two officials depose before inquiry commission on Langpih

Shillong, May 29 : The five-day Shillong sitting of Justice (retd) P.C. Phukan judicial inquiry commission, probing the Langpih firing where four people died on May 14, 2010, concluded here today with the deposition and cross-examination of two Meghalaya government officials.

West Khasi Hills deputy commissioner S. Kharlyngdoh and then superintendent of police M.H. Kharkrang deposed before the commission today while the Assam government lawyers cross-examined them.

Last year, four persons died while 12 others were injured at Langpih in West Khasi Hills district along Kamrup district in the Meghalaya-Assam border when personnel of the 4th Assam Police Battalion allegedly resorted to indiscriminate firing following a clash between two communities.

The commission, however, did not allow the Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) to submit its stand in writing as the date of submission of affidavits had concluded on December 18 last year.

The commission permitted the MPHRC to orally submit its views on the tragic incident.

Due to time constraints, the commission also asked public representatives to depose before it in Guwahati when fresh dates would be announced, Fenela Lyngdoh Nonglait, chairperson of the Meghalaya State Legal Forum said on the conclusion of the hearing.

Nonglait also said that 22 people had deposed before the commission since Tuesday while 16 of these were cross-examined by the Assam government lawyers.

On the first day of the hearing on Tuesday, three out of four widows of the people who were killed in the firing deposed before the commission, along with two members of a West Khasi Hills-based NGO who came as eyewitnesses. No cross-examination was held on the first day of the Shillong sitting.

Others who deposed before the commission included injured persons, eyewitnesses, chief of the Hima Raidmynsaw and the two Meghalaya government officials.

Assam government officials, including the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Kamrup district will have to depose before the commission in Guwahati as and when the dates are announced.

According to Nonglait, the commission will be fixing the dates at the earliest possible.

The commission, set up by the Assam government on September 4 last year, will conduct the inquiry based on these terms of reference: to ascertain the circumstances leading to the police firing in which four persons were killed and several others injured, to find out if any person(s), organisation(s) are responsible for the incident, to determine whether there were any lapses on the part of any authority, and if so, to fix responsibility thereof.

The commission would also suggest steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

On May 24, The first Shillong sitting of the judicial inquiry commission, probing the Langpih firing, began where widows of the deceased had their statements recorded.

Magdalyna Iangte, widow of Columbus Hujon, Pairen Rynniaw, widow of Charles Lyngkhoi, Ledina Sohshang, widow of Ekros Rani and Hindro Samakha, chief of Hima Raidmynsaw recorded their statements before the retired judge.

Glotilda Syiem, widow of Dennis Nongsiej, however, could not make it to the hearing as she was indisposed.