• Meghalaya

    1. Overview.. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces. 1
    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs. 2
    4. Violence against women and children. 2
    5. Status of the IDPs. 4
    6. Cultural cruelties - Witch hunting. 4

    1. Overview

    Ruled by Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, Meghalaya faced serious human rights violations.

    The State Government claimed that by July 2006, 289 members of the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) cadres were arrested, 27 killed in encounters, while 119 surrendered before the police. The monetary incentive to those who surrender was increased from Rs 75,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakh.[1]

    The judicial inquiries into Tura and Williamnagar killings of at least nine Garo tribal students by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on 30 September 2005 were not completed. The security forces continued to violate human rights.

    Judiciary was not separated from the executive except in the Shillong Municipality Area. As on 30 September 2006, there were 4 vacancies and a total of 11,013 cases pending with the District and Subordinate Courts.[2]

    The rights of the prisoners were often violated. The State Government failed to provide basic facilities including healthcare to the prisoners.[3]

    The situation of children was deplorable. The girl children were specifically vulnerable to abuses.

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The State Government set up two judicial commissions on the twin firing incidents at Tura and Williamnagar in which at least nine Garo tribal students were killed by the CRPF on 30 September 2005. The Tura Commission was headed by retired Judge DN Chaudhuri while the Williamnagar Commission was headed by Judge DN Baruah. The DN Baruah Commission submitted its report to the State Government on 3 November 2006. However, the DN Chaudhuri Commission failed to submit its report by the end of 2006.[4]

    The law enforcement personnel continued to be responsible for gross human rights violations, including extrajudicial killing, rape and torture of civilians. On 6 January 2006, Darwin Rasmut, a helper of a truck driver, was allegedly beaten to death by the personnel of the 54th Border Security Force (BSF) near Latangphilla under Dawki police station in Jaintia Hills district. His body was found hanging by a rope on 9 January 2006.[5]

    The security forces continued to use fire-arms indiscriminately against civilians. On 21 February 2006, Mr Shor Rymbai was shot at and seriously injured at Kyrluh Labour Camp under Khliehriat (Civil) Subdivision in Jaintia Hills district. A magisterial inquiry under Additional District Magistrate M N Nampui was ordered to probe the incident.[6]

    On the night of 15 December 2006, a businessman identified as Md. Shah Alam and another person were injured when the BSF personnel opened fire to disperse the villagers when they resisted the attempt of the BSF personnel to seize the cattle from their possession at Sibubari Jeldupara in West Garo Hills district. The villagers were taking eight heads of cattle from Tikrikilla to Garobadha under Tura police station.[7]

    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    The armed opposition groups (AOGs) were responsible for torture and extortion. Government officials were abducted for ransom.

    On 26 April 2006, two custom officials  identified as Dhoroni Bora, Superintendent of Customs, and Inspector Mrinal Sharma were reportedly abducted by suspected United Achik National Front cadres while they were on their way to Dalu from Gasuapara in South Garo Hills. A note demanding Rs 1.5 crore in ransom was received the following day.[8]

    4. Violence against women and children

    Though Meghalaya has matrilineal societies, violence against women including rape, attempt to rape, domestic violence, etc were on the rise in the State. However, most of the cases of violence went unreported.

    According to State Government's statistics, 132 rape cases and 39 cases of attempted rape were registered with the police in the State capital Shillong from 2001 to 2005. Out of this, 96 cases were charge sheeted, while 48 cases were pending investigation.

    However, only one person was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment for rape in the last five years.[9]

    The Meghalaya Police registered several rape cases during 2006. Majority of the victims were minors. The victims included Rilangki Suchiang (14) who was raped by one Julhi Sari at Phramer village in Jaintia Hills on 29 March 2006; H. Kharsyntiew (9) who was raped by John Frank Cooper Basaiawmoit in her house at Mawlai Nongkwar in Shillong on 1 May 2006; Wanrisa Lyngkhoi (7) who was raped by Bawanaibor Dhar at Shyiap Chandmari in Shillong on 6 May 2006; Phidaris Nongrum (9) who was raped by Klober Nongrum in his house at Klew village in Ri-Bhoi district on 12 June 2006; Lut M. Sangma (13) who was raped by Raju Sharma at Malangkona village in West Khasi Hills 4 September 2006; Mamta Kumari (8) who was raped by Rakesh Singh in the premises of the Additional Secretariat Building in Shillong on 17 September 2006; Chandmani Biswas (11) who was raped by Shekar Dey at Pynthorbah in Shillong on 8 October 2006; Ribashai Warbah (5) who was raped by Kampher Warjri at Nongkrem in East Khasi Hills district on 10 October 2006; Ribashisha Thabah (9) who was raped by Amstar John Syiemiong at Mawlai Mawroh in Shillong on 13 October 2006; Bianghun Kharphuli (12) who was raped by Sumar Lyngdoh Mawphlang at Rangshken village in East Khasi Hills district on 17 October 2006; Suchina M Sangma (14) who was raped by an unidentified person at the Civil Hospital parking lot in Tura on 14 November 2006 and Beter Makri (15) who was raped by Stay Mynsong at Mawlasnai village in Ri-Bhoi district on 14 November 2006.[10]

    Many girl children were sold for prostitution. On 7 April 2006, Premso Sangma took his daughters identified as Dimji Sangma (16), Rita Sangma (12) Simbalina Sangma (9) to the house of one Md. Zakir at Mankachar in West Garo Hills district with an intention of selling them for prostitution. Dimji Sangma was raped by Md. Zakir at his residence on the night of the same day. In June 2006, two girls identified as Estherlin Marwein and Shasha Nongsiej were lured by a woman identified as Bik by promising jobs in Kolkata and sold to a brothel at Mira road in Mumbai.[11]

    Domestic violence was also common. On 5 November 2006, Laxmi Singh was brutally assaulted and her shoulder was burnt with hot iron by her husband Suraj Kumar Singh and her brother-in-law Raj Kumar Singh for dowry. The victim  lodged a complaint at Lumdiengjri police station. At least two women identified as Aibanglin Lyngkhoi of Mawkyrwat in West Khasi Hills and Defore Sari of Mukhla village in Jaintia Hills were burnt to death by their husbands on 5 May and 8 September 2006 respectively.[12]

    5. Status of the IDPs

    The Indo-Bangladesh border fencing was another addition to the cup of woes for the tribals in Meghalaya. According to the 2006-2007 Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, fencing of 367.92 km out of total 443 km border length of the State had been completed as on 31 December 2006. About 40 villages under Nongjri to Dawki and Dawki to Jaliakhola sectors in Jaintia Hills district would go outside the fence if the fencing work in these areas was completed.[13]

    Block I and II areas in Karbi Anglong district of Asom remained a disputed area between Asom and Meghalaya. More than 200 Khasi families displaced from Lum Durbar in Asom on 6 June 2005 were not rehabilitated as on 20 July 2006. In July 2006, the National Human Rights Commission directed the Union Home Secretary to take immediate action to solve the border dispute following a complaint lodged by Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council (MPHRC). In its petition the MPHRC alleged that in the name of maintaining status quo, both the State Governments had failed to provide sufficient security, assistance, compensation and rehabilitate the displaced people whose houses were dismantled by officials of Asom Forest Department and Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.[14]

    6. Cultural cruelties - Witch hunting

    Witch-hunting was practiced especially in villages of Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

    On 15 March 2006, villagers of Laitkyrhong near Smit in Shillong reportedly detained and assaulted five persons including three government employees, a contractor and a class XII student accusing them of being witches or ‘Menshohnoh' when the victims had gone near the village for a picnic. In yet another incident on 16 March 2006, Jngiar Chadap Passah and 25 members of his family, residents of Nongjngi in Jaintia Hills district, were excommunicated from the village by the Village Council on the charges of being ‘Menshohnohs'.[15]                   

    [1]. 435 HNLC cadres killed or arrested till date, The Assam Tribune, 7 July 2006 

    [2]. Court News, October-December 2006, Supreme Court of India

    [3]. M'laya pensioners demand healthcare facilities, The Sentinel, 20 November 2006 

    [4]. Tura probe report within Jan likely, The Shillong Times, 27 December 2006 

    [5]. BSF denies hand in death, The Telegraph, 12 January 2006 

    [6]. Magisterial probe ordered into shooting incident, The Shillong Times, 4 March 2006 

    [7]. Daily Crime Update, Meghalaya Police Department

    [8]. Rebels fix Rs 1.5 cr ransom, The Telegraph, 28 April 2006 

    [9]. 171 rape cases, 1 conviction in Shillong, The Assam Tribune, 1 July 2006 

    [10]. Daily Crime Update, Meghalaya Police Department

    [11]. Daily Crime Update, Meghalaya Police Department

    [12]. Daily Crime Update, Meghalaya Police Department

    [13]. 40 Meghalaya villages protesting fencing work, The Assam Tribune, 14 January 2006 

    [14]. NHRC directive to Home Ministry, The Sentinel, 21 July 2006 

    [15]. Witch-hunt drives family out of village, The Assam Tribune, 20 March 2006 

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