Governed by the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, Meghalaya continued to witness human rights violations both by the security forces and Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs). The NHRC received one allegation of death in police custody and one allegation of death in judicial custody in Meghalaya during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.
On 19 April 2007, Inquiry reports into two police shooting incidents in Tura and Williannagar in which 10 persons were killed in 2006 were tabled in the State Assembly of Meghalaya. On the Tura incident, Justice D N Chaudhuri criticised the administration and police for use of ‘excess’ force leading to the death of four innocent people in Tura.
However, Justice (retd) DN Baruah, who examined the Williamnagar incident where five people were killed and scores injured, felt that the measures taken by the administration were “just and adequate” and the force used by the police was appropriate and not excessive. Terming the report of Justice (retd) DN Baruah Commission on the incident as biased and unacceptable, a fresh inquiry was demanded by the civil society organisations.
According to police estimates, a total of 2,187 incidents of crime were recorded during 2007 in the State. These included 114 cases of murder, 77 cases of rape, 3 cases of dowry death, 50 cases of kidnapping and abduction, among others.
The Meghalaya Police recorded 76 cases of rape, 45 cases of molestation, 20 cases of kidnapping and abduction of girls and women, among others, in 2007; while the NCRB had recorded 176 incidents of crime against women during 2006. The security personnel were themselves responsible for many cases of rape in 2007.
With regard to administration of justice, there were 4 vacancies and a total of 10,795 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts of Meghalaya as on 30 September 2007.
Asian Centre for Human Rights documented a number of custodial killings and alleged extrajudicial executions in 2007.
On 29 November 2007, Luding Sangma (30) died in the police lock-up of Shahlang Police Out Post in West Khasi Hills district.
On the morning of 22 August 2007, Peter Marak, commander-in-chief of AOG Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) was allegedly extrajudicially executed by the police at Kalak in East Garo Hills district.
According to the police, Mr Marak had confessed that at least ten cadres of the AOGs were hiding in the jungle near Kalak village. Marak was taken there by the police. While approaching the location, members of LAEF open fire on the police. The police retaliated. Mr Marak was injured by weapons fired by the members of LAEF during the crossfire and died later. No police personnel suffered any injuries in the alleged crossfire.
The security forces also resorted to use of disproportionate force while controlling protests
On 15 December 2007, one Md. Shah Alam was killed when personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) opened fire on villagers and businessmen who were taking cattle from Tikrikilla to Garobadha under Tura Police Station in the West Garo Hills district. The BSF personnel opened fired to disperse the crowd after they resisted the attempt of the BSF to seize the cattle.
In December 2007, a woman identified as S. Wanniang and five others suffered serious injuries after a cane-charge by the Central Reserve Police Forces during an eviction drive at Motphran Wanniang in Shillong.
The AOGs were responsible for violations of international humanitarian law.
On the night of 22 June 2007, one person was killed and 13 others injured in serial grenade attacks carried out by alleged members of Liberation of Achik Elite Force in three district of Garo Hills.
On 2 December 2007, Shri Tonanth Sangma was killed following abduction by four suspected cadres allegedly of A’chik National Liberation Front Army at Dagal Simram village in East Garo Hills district.
Despite Meghalaya having matrilineal societies, violence against women were extensively reported. Majority of the victims were minors. The Meghalaya Police recorded 76 cases of rape, 45 cases of molestation, 20 cases of kidnapping and abduction of girls and women, among others, in 2007. The NCRB had recorded 176 incidents of crime against women during 2006.
The security personnel were themselves responsible for sexual violence.
On 16 April 2007, Ramkrishna Dey, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel of BSF Camp at Danakgre in Tura, outraged the modesty of Smt. Veronica B. Marak at her house at 8th Mile in Danakgre in Tura. The accused was arrested.
On 3 July 2007, Smt. Keriyas Marak was raped by Constable Ramu D. Sangma of 3rd Meghalaya Police Battalion (3rd MLPBn) in her quarter at Jowai Police Station Complex in Jhantia Hills district.
On 26 July 2007, a member of the military identified as Malsawm Tluanga was arrested by the police on charges of repeated rape of a girl on 9 July 2007 in a hotel at Police Bazaar in Shillong.
On November 2007, a nine-years-old girl (name withheld) was raped by Donbor Syngkli, a Constable of 3rd Meghalaya Police Battalion (MLP Bn) at Mihmyntdu village in Jhantia Hills district.
Overcrowding of jails continued to be a problem in Meghalaya. In the Shillong jail 291 prisoners were lodged as against its sanctioned capacity of 150 as of March 2007. Of these, 282 were male and nine were female inmates. Most of the inmates were under trials. Out of the total, 230 male and seven female were under trial prisoners while the number of convicts in the jail was 40 male and seven female.
Prisoners were ill treated and denied medical facilities. On 24 April 2007, former JACC chairman, Mr Shanpru, who was lodged at Tura district jail, was allegedly denied treatment while he was suffering seriously from dysentery despite doctors at Tura Civil Hospital advising the jail authorities to admit him to a hospital.
1. Lapang tables twin police firing inquiry reports in Assembly, The Sentinel, 20 April 2007
2. NCP, GSU demand fresh probe into W’nagar firing, The Shillong Times, 21 April 2007
3. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
4. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
5. Supreme Court of India, Court News- October – December 2007, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/CtNewsOct_Dec07.pdf
6. One dies in police lock-up, The Shillong Times, 1 December 2007
7. ACHR’s complaint to NHRC, Ref. No: ML/03/2007
8. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
9. CRPF open to probe into Shillong clash, The Telegraph, 13 December 2007
10. Garo militant outfit claims responsibility for serial blasts, The Assam Tribune, 24 June 2007
11. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
12. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
13. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
14. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
15. Army man held on rape charge, The Shillong Times, 7 August 2007
16. Meghalya Police, Daily Crime Update, Archives, available at: http://meghpol.nic.in/
17. Govt to file affidavit on State prisoners, Home Secy summoned, The Shillong Times, 29 March 2007
18. Shanpru to move NHRC, The Shillong Times, 25 May 2007