‘Knife surrender’ rally in Shillong to protest ex-militant leader’s killing


Protesters from 11 local organisations on Monday organised a unique ‘pyndem tari’ (knife surrender) rally in Shillong to protest the government’s failure in suspending police personnel responsible for the killing of a former militant leader on August 13.

A large number of youths and activists, including women, along with leaders of the “Ka Sur Ki Nongmawlai”, an umbrella body of the 11 local organisations, took part in the rally demanding suspension of the police personnel responsible for the killing of militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council’s former General Secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.

The protesters, carrying locally-made knives and shouting slogans, deposited the knives at Mawlai bus stand after the rally which went around the state capital.

“This is a symbolic protest as the police claimed that they fired upon Thangkhiew in ‘self-defence’ on August 13 when the slain former HNLC leader attacked the police with a knife. Our protests would continue until the government takes action against the guilty police officials,” an activist told the media.

Police officials had earlier claimed that acting on a secret report, the police had gone to Thangkhiew’s residence to arrest him in connection with the IED blasts in Shillong and in East Jaintia Hills district headquarters Khliehriat.

Violence has broken out on August 15 following the incident and a police vehicle was also burnt down, and weapons of policemen looted – though they were subsequently recovered from a river.

The Meghalaya government, in wake of the violence that even affected Independence Day celebrations, had ordered a judicial probe into the “killing”, and ensuing violence, including stone-pelting and arson, in Shillong.

Demanding a judicial inquiry into the violence, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui had resigned on August 15.