One suspect in the wanton assault of bystanders during a rally against unemployment on Friday has been arrested by police and efforts are on to nab the others involved in carrying out the attacks, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informed today.
Several people were injured and vehicles damaged during the rally, which was called for by the Federation of Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) and supported by other pressure groups. Police were completely outnumbered and did little to prevent the attacks.
Sangma held a review meeting with top police officers, the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner and Chief Secretary.
“We have reviewed the entire situation and we have instructed police to take necessary action,” the CM said. “Also, for future situations, necessary arrangements and SOPs (standard operating procedures) will be laid down. All these and other matters of law and order were discussed in detail.”
As part of the rally permission process, the FKJGP had been made to give a written undertaking that violence would be abjured and it has been issued a show-cause notice by the DC over the failure to maintain peace and tranquility.
Three FIRs have been lodged regarding the violence and a large number of miscreants responsible have been identified, the CM added.
He counted only three people who were injured and three vehicles damaged. No compensation will be awarded by the government for the injuries as necessary treatment was provided.
Asked if there was a failure of intelligence on the part of police, Sangma said that, as the FKJGP had sought permission to hold the rally, the government went on trust that there would be no issue.
“The administration always believes that there is some sense of trust in this entire process. And therefore, certain things come out completely as a surprise to everybody. And in this entire incident that happened, there were a few out of the 1,500-plus people who were there, a very few who resorted to this kind of violent activity,” he added, while admitting that it appears to have been an intelligence failure in hindsight.
As a result of this, Sangma said that the government will be more stringent in future.
Meanwhile, on the subject of youth unemployment, which was the whole point of the rally, the CM said that his government has taken several steps to provide jobs and to encourage their creation in the private sector.
“We have come up with a specific policy for startups and entrepreneurship. That itself is a policy for addressing the unemployment issue,” he said, while also citing measures taken to promote tourism and agriculture.