Attack on Agnes Kharshiing: Meghalaya HC tells state to bear cost of RTI activist's medical treatment

The Meghalaya High Court Thursday directed the state government to bear all medical expenses of social activist Agnes Khashiing and her colleague Amita Sangma, who were injured in a suspected coal mafia attack on 8 November.

In its order, the bench, headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, said the state Director General of Police (DGP) should take appropriate measures for ensuring protection and security of both the injured persons admitted to North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRHMS).

"NEIGRHMS as well as the state shall ensure that all medical facilities as shall be required are made available to both the injured social activists who while espousing social cause were attacked by some coal mafia," the order said.

The petitioners sought an investigation by a specialised agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as according to the petitioners, threat apprehension looms large as they have the apprehension of being eliminated by the persons who had attacked them.

It directed the investigating officer to file the latest status of the probe on 27 November, when it will next hear the case.

Agnes was allegedly targeted for her war against corrupt practices adopted by the government officials in state.

She sustained head injuries and was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The NEIGRHMS said Thursday that the RTI activist has been taken off the ventilator and is "out of danger".

Clarence Kharshiing, 36, the eldest son of Agnes, told Firstpost, "My mother is fine. She is critical but stable. From what I have heard, the state government has extended support to my mother and Amita by way of medical expenses. "We are also getting support from other organisations who are condemning the criminal act against my mother and her colleague. They are also putting pressure on the pressure on the government."

Giving a chronology of the incident, he said that the incident took place last Thursday evening when they were supposed to attend a wedding. "I got a call from my brother around 3:30 to 4 pm that my mother was assaulted at Sohshrieh village in Jowai. I am not sure for what purpose she visited the place, but I think it has to do with illegal coal mining." Kharshiing and Amita were reportedly hit by hard objects and dragged to the nearby forest area by the attackers. "The police did turn up after the assault. Thanks to Amita, who crawled towards the roadside," he said.

The police arrested the third suspect, a woman, on Thursday. Home Minister James K Sangma told reporters, "I can assure you that within 36 hours, police were able to make arrest, and today we have apprehended another person so things are moving in the right manner."

A Meghalaya Assembly committee headed by Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh will take up the case. Officials told PTI Wednesday the attack on Kharshiing will be taken up during the meeting of the Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment and will be attended by members from other political parties as well. Ampareen, who is also the chairman of the committee, told PTI the committee will also "seek clarification from the police on steps taken to uncover the perpetrators of such a heinous crime that has left an unimaginable fear in the minds of concerned citizens."

She said the committee will also seek a status report from the concerned department to ensure that justice is delivered to the victims.

With inputs from Simantik Dowerah

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Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 22:42:26 IST

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