Cheristerfield encounter: Meghalaya DGP defends police action; ex-HNLC leader's son demands probe
Meghalaya Director General of Police (DGP) R Chandranathan on Friday justified the police’s action in the Cheristerfield Thangkhiew encounter case and stated that the team was “acting in self-defence. He also said that they had “incontrovertible” evidence against the former general secretary of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) in connection with the IED blasts in Laitumkhrah and Khliehriat.
“We decided to arrest Thangkhiew after we had incontrovertible evidence against him in the bomb blast cases,” the DGP said addressing the press in Shillong. He further said that investigation in the cases demanded Thangkhiew’s arrest and he should have cooperated with the police, and not attack them. “…it was a wrong thing to do,” the DGP said, adding that a police inquiry into the case has been ordered and everything will be as per the norms of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
To a question on why a police team was sent at 3 am to Thangkhiew’s residence in Mawlai Kynton Massar, DGP Chandranathan refused to divulge any details on operational and tactical grounds saying such particulars cannot be discussed in public. He further justified the operation saying there was a need to expedite investigations in the wake of the blast on August 10.
Initially, the police had also arrested Thangkhiew’s two sons - Grainy F. Greenfield Diengdoh and Olifin Greenfield Diengdoh - from his residence citing their alleged involvement in the two blasts. But later, DGP Chandranathan clarified that the team mistook them as 54-year-old’s security guards and were picked up for verification.
Meanwhile, Grainy F. Greenfield Diengdoh and several organisations have demanded an independent probe into the encounter. “There should be an independent inquiry on this. It is a fake encounter. Even if there was evidence that he was involved in the IED blast, they could have arrested him during the day, it was shocking that they came in the night," Diengdoh said.
He further added that he rejects the “right to private defence” reasoning of the police behind shooting his father. “We don’t keep a knife on the second floor. And, the kitchen is on the ground floor," he said, adding that they have been beaten and detained for three hours while police searched the house.
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)
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