Bernita R. Marak, the prime accused in the mob violence in Tura that took place on July 24, has got pre-arrest bail from the Meghalaya High Court.
In an order passed on October 20, Justice B Bhattacharjee directed that in the event of Marak’s arrest in connection with the case filed against her at Araimile Police Station, Tura, she shall be released on bail on furnishing personal bond or Rs 30,000 with two sureties of similar amount on the condition that she shall make herself available for interrogation before the police as and when required.
“She shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat to any person acquainted with the facts of the case. The petitioner shall also not leave the station without prior information to the investigating agency,” the High Court said.
According to the High Court, there is nothing on the record to show that the investigating agency has ever made any sincere attempt to take custody of Marak immediately after the occurrence of the violence incident at Tura.
“No material was placed before this court to establish that there exists a look-out notice against the petitioner,” the High Court added.
The High Court also observed that there is a significant lapse of time from the date of the registration of the FIR and no serious attempt by the Investigating Agency to procure custody of the petitioner.
Marak, who is a lawyer, is also the general secretary of ACHIK.
She has been charged by police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, read with Section 6A/6B/8A/8B of MMPO Act and read with Section 3/4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
In their FIR, Tura police stated that on July 24 a mob of approximately 500 anti-social elements assembled outside the Mini Secretariat, Dakopgre when the talks between Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and the protesting NGOs were going on. Police said that at around 6:45 pm, the mob started pelting stones at the government servants on duty to which a number of police, home guard and CRPF personnel sustained injuries.
The FIR also stated that at least 21 government and private vehicles got damaged out of which two vehicles were completely burnt and two others were partially burnt. The damaged vehicles include the carcade of the Chief Minister, MLA of Williamnagar, Deputy Commissioner and other government officials.
Police also stated that many window panes and doors of the Mini Secretariat building were also damaged by stones, bricks and bottles thrown by the mob.