Masked men in Meghalaya kill worker from Assam, college shut

‘On Feb. 22, headman and other members of the village authority came and told us the labourers cannot work in the college,’ says vice-principal

‘On Feb. 22, headman and other members of the village authority came and told us the labourers cannot work in the college,’ says vice-principal

Officials in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district have sent seven labourers home in Assam after masked men attacked them at a construction site on Wednesday night. A labourer died of his injures in hospital.

The missionary college where they were working has also been closed for an indefinite period in view of the attack.

Police said that about 15-20 masked miscreants, armed with sharp and blunt weapons, attacked the eight men from Assam’s South Salmara-Mankachar district bordering Bangladesh when they were sleeping inside the St. Xavier College complex in Shait-Shait Umriod village in South West Khasi Hills district.

The college authorities took the injured labourers to the health centre at district headquarters Mawkyrwat, about 15 km away. But given the seriousness of the injuries, the doctors there referred them to the Civil Hospital in State capital Shillong, where one of them – 22-year-old R. Mondal – died.

“The labourers were sent back to Assam while the body of the man who died was handed over to his kin. We have so far arrested two people and efforts are on to nab the other suspects,” district Superintendent of Police Maxwell B. Syiem told The Hindu on Friday.

Father L. David Nukhu, college vice-principal, said the labourers had been brought on February 10 for constructing the college administrative block and a girls’ hostel. The department concerned in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council had given permission to bring them.

“But on February 22, the headman and other members of the village authority came and told us the labourers cannot work in the college. We shifted them to another place and let them come to work on February 24 after the village authority granted them permission. The attack happened that night,” he said.

Approval sought

In a statement, the college authorities said they had sought the approval of top officers and ministers, including Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, to bring the labourers besides explaining to pressure groups such as the Khasi Students’ Union why the workers were needed.

Condemning the incident, Mr. Sangma said: “We will ensure the miscreants involved are not allowed to go free and such incidents do not happen in the future.”

There have been instances of non-locals having been attacked in Meghalaya, where pressure groups have been demanding the implementation of Inner-Line Permit, a temporary travel permit for outsiders.

Read More

The Hindu