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Current Affairs

Former militant’s death triggers crisis in Meghalaya

Date: 20 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Former militant of Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Cherishterfield Thangkhiew, was killed in a police operation in Meghalaya, leading to protests.

 

Background

The militant had surrendered before the police but was allegedly killed in an operation, which is termed as encounter.

 

Details

  • The city of Shillong has witnessed arson, stone pelting and vandalism. The house of chief minister Conrad Sangma was attacked with petrol bombs.

  • The Home minister has resigned from his position to allow for a fair judicial enquiry of the incident without influence.

  • The government has imposed curfew in the city. Internet in four districts has been blocked for 72 hours and central forces deployed.

 

The militant

  • HNLC is a separatist militant organization and Cherishterfield Thangkhiew was the general secretary of the organization.

  • He came overground in 2018 due to ill health but the government claimed that he had surrendered.

  • The administration says that Thangkhiew became active from the past few months, involving in several bomb blasts that took place in East Jaintia Hills in July, and in Shillong’s Laitumkhrah market.

  • The police claim that there was a tip that Thangkhiew was planning another blast and they had gone to pick him up. He attacked police with knife, forcing them to shoot in self-defence.

 

Militancy in Meghalaya

  • The militancy movement started as a movement against dominance of dkhars (Outsiders). Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC) was the first militant organization formed in 1980s.

  • The militancy later split along tribal lines. The Khasis and Jaintias demanded an independent country while the Garo organization wanted a separate homeland within Indian constitution.

 

Militant activity

  • The situation has changed from the 2000s when boycott and bandhs were quite common. There were lawlessness and extortion activities.

  • Currently, there is a ceasefire agreement between government and these extremist outfits. However, some members living in Bangladesh are against ceasefire.