A 38-year-old coal merchant, wanted in the murder attempt on Meghalaya's frontline women's rights activist Agnes Kharshiing and her aide, was arrested from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Assam today, police said.
"The special team of Meghalaya Police picked up Showmewell B Kyndait from Guwahati airport following intelligence input that he was attempting to fly to New Delhi to evade police arrest in connection with the attack on the two women's activists," Sylvester Nongtnger, the district police chief of East Jaintia Hills, told news agency IANS.
Kyndait, a resident of Shangpung village, was arrested by Khliehriat police after he told his interrogators that "he was one of those people" who brutally assaulted Kharshiing and her aide Amita Sangma on November 8 at Tuber Sohshrieh area in East Jaintia Hills district, police said.
With the arrest of Kyndait, the total number of people arrested in the case has risen to seven, including a 44-year-old woman Skhemlang Dkhar on Wednesday from Jowai, the district headquarters of West Jaintia Hills.
"Search is on to arrest the other accuses in the case. We are hopeful to arrest them," Mr Nongtnger said.
Mr Nongtnger said that police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police is investigating the entire case, even as police have registered case vide Khliehriat PS case No 195(11) u/s 307/392 Indian Penal Code which is attempt to murder and robbery.
Meanwhile, Additional Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills district, SS Syiemlieh has issued an order directing Kharshiing and Sangma to appear before him at North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) hospital for deposition of statement in the interest of the inquiry to ascertain facts and circumstances leading to their assaults.
Kharshiing along with Sangma were brutally assaulted by a group of people after the activist lodged a complaint on illegal mining and transportation of coal in the district.
The National Green Tribunal had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students' Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before it, alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in the Jaintia Hills.
The Meghalaya High Court has asked the investigating officer to file the status report of the investigation and to remain present in the Court along with the case diary on November 27.
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