Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui today declined to commit to an independent inquiry into the death of former militant leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.
Although the Justice Vaiphei report into the ex-HNLC member’s death was released by the government during the recent Assembly session, the opposition, pressure groups and family of the deceased were left dissatisfied by the contents and want a full Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
Thangkhiew was killed in a police raid on his home in the early hours of August 13, 2021. Police suspected that he had been involved in several recent improvised explosive device (IED) blasts claimed by the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC). The authorities claimed to have shot Thangkhiew dead after he attacked police with a knife. Justice Vaiphei was highly critical of the police’s approach to the raid but stopped short of making any recommendation against the police personnel involved in the “botched operation”.
Rymbui said that everyone wants justice and the government is duty-bound to provide it. However, the minister, who was clearly uncomfortable with the line of questioning, added that whatever had to be explained was submitted in the Assembly and he did not want to dwell on it more.
Asked what action will be taken against the police tactical team responsible for the raid, Rymbui said that a necessary explanation has been sought and, based on that, a decision will be taken on what further steps to take.