By Our Reporter, TNT News | Shillong, Jan 25, 2018:
Two days after a journalist from Meghalaya, Biplab Dey who was recently assaulted by a group of 20-25 miscreants after he tried to stop some trucks that were illegally carrying timber from Meghalaya to Assam, Dey received indirect threats from miscreants asking him to withdraw the case filed at Athiabari outpost in West Khasi Hills.
The journalist along with his friend was attacked by a group of close to 20-25 men on Tuesday evening at Mallangkona in West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya after he tried to enquire and stop trucks illegally carrying timber.
A day after the attack, Dey had filed a case at Athiabari outpost, under which Mallangkona falls (place of occurrence) and filed a complaint on the brutal assault on them led by one Sugriv Rabha and his gang after which he underwent medical at Riangdo before returning home on Thursday morning.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED ON THAT FATEFUL NIGHT?
Biplab Dey: I had gone to a friend’s place in Mallangkona, the village where the incident took place at about 4:30 pm on Jan 23 as we had heard of huge number of timber trucks using the route to move illegal timber into the state of Assam. At his place, we held a meeting with a few friends and we resolved to commonly work towards stopping the destruction of forests and movement of illegal timber.
After the meeting, I was about to move towards Dudhnoi in Assam and my friends were also accompanying me when we came upon a timber truck lying by the side of the road. We immediately moved out of the car and started to inquire as to what was happening when suddenly from behind, another truck, once again carrying timber, came along the same route. This was close to 9 pm on the same night.
We immediately stopped the truck and tried to contact the Athiabari police authorities of the movement of the two trucks but despite repeated attempts, we were unable to get through. In the meantime, the two trucks taking advantage of our being busy in contacting authorities, charged and fled from the scene after two people, indicated for them to move quickly.
Though angry at the two people, we still decided to leave the place as the trucks had already fled and we did not have any proof. I left the place, Siminiguri) at about 9:45 pm.
While I was on the way home, I was suddenly called by my friend, who said that a huge group of people from Assam had come into the place of the incident and were causing a huge ruckus. (I later came to know that they had assaulted other people as well from the same village and had even taken and destroyed a few phones).
I decided to come back as it was my responsibility as I had been a part of the stoppage of the trucks. However as soon as I got down from the car at about 10:30, I was immediately assaulted by the group of close to 20-25 men. My friend, the driver was also beaten up in a similar way and was even taken forcefully to their office in the village of Gamerimura. He was literally stripped down to his underwear by the criminals led by one Sugriv Rabha from Gamerimura in Assam.
My phone was snatched from my hand and destroyed by the group while they were assaulting me through kicks, sticks and whatever they could lay their hands on. They also took out my camera and my laptop bag from the car and which was also later destroyed by the group.
I was left after they felt they had enough of their beating of me and took the car along with my friend to their village. He was however saved by some good Samaritans from the same village (as told to me later) who also dropped him and his car to his house in Dudhnoi. He is still recovering from the severe beating he received at their hands.
As for me, after the beatings, I was disoriented and tried to figure out a way to get to my friend’s house where I had earlier come. Fortunately, he had also heard that I was being beaten up and came looking for me. I joined him in his car and spent the night at his place.
The next day, I went to the Athiabari outpost in West Khasi Hills, under which Mallangkona falls and filed a complaint on the brutal assault on us led by Sugriv Rabha and his gang after which I underwent medical at Riangdo before returning home at about 1 am this morning.
Incidentally, parts of my broken laptop, phone and camera were recovered today by the Athiabari police.
Even while I was filing the case in Athiabari and it was forwarded to Riangdoh, the people behind the incident allegedly have gone on to threaten a few people from the village, that I personally know, asking for me to withdraw the case.