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Everyone fired, but none did the killings. Initially, the BSF and now the police claimed to have fired in the air to control the mob protesting a ban on coal mining. The incident at Mookhep in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya in the evening of September 24 is turning murkier every day. The government is yet to come clean even as all fingers are pointed at sate security forces. Various organizations straightforwardly sought action against police, even though there is no proof so far as to whose bullets killed the duo and injured many others. Confused and perplexed, the government even hinted at involvement of a third force behind the incident.

The irony is that two fresh FIRs – one by a lady magistrate and a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) – were also silent about the killings. They just claimed to have faced stones and even bullets from the 500 strong crowd. The claims, interestingly, came in the wake of rising doubt expressed by various groups about police involvement in the killings. The two fresh FIRs made rooms for more doubt. Even though the first official statement nowhere mentioned about any firing by police, the magistrate and DSP admitted to have fired in the air to control the mob. What prevented the duo from divulging the fact or for that matter the government to disclose it in the past one week is a matter of question.

Amid all the irony of government and police on the matter, the outlawed HNLC also exposed its bit. The militant outfit called a bandh covering first two days of Durga Puja celebrations, in protest against the firing incident and also murder of a Jaintia youth in Karnataka. When condemnations against the bandh started pouring in, the outfit maintained that Puja is exempted from the purview of the bandh. Yet they would not withdraw it and also made it clear that revelers should ‘refrain from merry-making’, which is part and parcel of any Hindu festival. By saying so, the outfit wanted to project a secular face before the concerned Christian-dominated indigenous population. But, it actually wanted the Puja revelers to stay indoors, which did not happen on the first day of the bandh as shops remained open even hours after the bandh began at 6 pm on October 1. The outfit proved it once again that logic does not apply to their way of functioning. They, who recently offered to sit in peace talks with the government, called the bandh also to protest Gandhi Jayanti, observed as Non-Violence Day, meaning they want violence and ‘peace’ together!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on October 6, 2014)