A vehicle carrying CRPF personnel was attacked by protesters in Mawlai area in Shillong during curfew hours, prompting security forces to use mild force to disperse the crowd, police told media on Monday, August 16. The attack took place hours after a petrol bomb was hurled at the private residence of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma at Third Mile in Upper Shillong on the night of Sunday, August 15. According to reports, two Molotov cocktail bottles were hurled at his residence at around 10:00 pm by vehicle-borne attackers.
According to the state police, no one was injured in the incident. The first bottle was lobbed at the frontal part of the CM’s residence while the other one was thrown behind the backyard, prompting the garda present to douse the fire immediately.
This incident took place after curfew had been imposed by the Meghalaya government in the East Khasi Hills district with effect from 8 pm on Sunday following a massive surge in violent protests in Shillong against the killing of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader Chesterfield Thangkhiew. The state government also snapped mobile internet services for the next 48 hours with effect from 6 pm on Sunday in four districts of the state.
Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui reportedly tendered his resignation amid the violent protests. Home Minister Rymbui sent his resignation letter to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on August 15.
“I hereby express shock to the incident where (L) Chesterfield Thangkhiew was killed following the raid of police at his residence exceeding the lawful tenets of the law,” Rymbui stated in his letter to the chief minister. “I would like to request you to relieve the Home (Police) Department from me with immediate effect. This will facilitate free and fair inquiry taken by the government to bring out the truth of the incident. I propose judicial inquiry be conducted,” he added.
Former HNLC leader, Chesterfield Thangkhiew, who had already surrendered, was killed in the early hours on Friday, August 13, in a retaliatory firing by Meghalaya police in Shillong. Police officials told media that a joint team of East Jaintia Hills police and East Khasi Hills police raided the house of surrendered HNLC leader Chesterfield Thangkhiew around 3 am on Friday at Kynton Massar in Mawlai in connection with the recent blasts in the state.
Two people, including a woman, were injured in an IED blast by HNLC militants at Laitumkhrah in Shillong on Tuesday, August 10. In July, suspected HNLC militants triggered another blast at a police reserve barracks in East Jaintia Hills district headquarters injuring a policeman and damaging buildings.
Following the killing of Thangkhiew, people of the state created a massive uproar, alleging that the former militant leader was killed in a staged encounter by the security forces.