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Army guns down two bikers in Garo Hills

By Biplab Kr Dey
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TURA, Nov 26 - The killing of two residents of Rajasimla near Kharkutta in North Garo Hills by army men last night has been strongly condemned by the people of the region. Locals have alleged the killings were another case of fake encounter and have demanded an immediate inquiry into the shootings.

An FIR was later filed by the family of the killed as well as locals accusing the army for the killings.

According to reports, Sweetbirth D Marak (30), a school teacher and Alphuis Momin (35), both from Rajasimla were returning home on a bike when they were shot dead near Konchikol under Kharkutta outpost around 8.40 pm yesterday by army personnel allegedly from the Rongjuli camp. Their bodies bore multiple injuries and people later found about 15-20 empty shells of AK ammunition from the spot.

The bike in which they were travelling had a malfunctioning headlight and the duo was using a torch to find their way. They were allegedly shot from atop a small hillock.

Cherak W Momin, mla of Kharkutta rushed to the spot this morning from Shillong to take a first hand account of the incident. �I condemn this killing of two innocent people. The matter needs to be probed immediately and the guilty punished�, said Cherak.

�This is allegedly the second such case of fake killings by the army in North Garo Hills assistant general secretary. The previous one in Petchong-Jongki had left two innocent people dead.

GSU North Zone assistant general secretary Wilness Marak has alleged the army did not followe protocol and didn�t inform the police of their presence. �We demand immediate payment of compensation to the victims. We further demand an immediate judicial enquiry into the matter�, he said.

Army�s response: The army today in a release confirmed the killing of the two men. However, the release clarified that the two were killed when they failed to stop after being asked to.

Army PRO (Defence), Lt Col Suneet Newton said, �The heightened level of terrorism in the area has caused the Army in conjunction with Meghalaya Police to carry out increased vigil.�

The release clarified that the army had specific information of two GNLA cadres moving in a motorcycle and as such had set up a checkpoint on the Kharkuta-Khilor road. �We started checking the motorcycles passing by. Initially, two motorcycles having two riders each were signalled to stop. They were stopped, checked and let go when nothing suspicious was found�, said the release.

�At approximately 8.40 pm, the third motorcyclists, when signaled to stop, accelerated their bike and tried to escape. Due to the huge back blast and flash from the bike�s silencer and due to prevailing pitch darkness, it seemed the bikers had opened fire. The troops returned fire in self defence, due to which the bikers were hit and died on the spot.�

The release further stated that a detailed investigation is being done by army authorities into the incident.

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Army guns down two bikers in Garo Hills

TURA, Nov 26 - The killing of two residents of Rajasimla near Kharkutta in North Garo Hills by army men last night has been strongly condemned by the people of the region. Locals have alleged the killings were another case of fake encounter and have demanded an immediate inquiry into the shootings.

An FIR was later filed by the family of the killed as well as locals accusing the army for the killings.

According to reports, Sweetbirth D Marak (30), a school teacher and Alphuis Momin (35), both from Rajasimla were returning home on a bike when they were shot dead near Konchikol under Kharkutta outpost around 8.40 pm yesterday by army personnel allegedly from the Rongjuli camp. Their bodies bore multiple injuries and people later found about 15-20 empty shells of AK ammunition from the spot.

The bike in which they were travelling had a malfunctioning headlight and the duo was using a torch to find their way. They were allegedly shot from atop a small hillock.

Cherak W Momin, mla of Kharkutta rushed to the spot this morning from Shillong to take a first hand account of the incident. �I condemn this killing of two innocent people. The matter needs to be probed immediately and the guilty punished�, said Cherak.

�This is allegedly the second such case of fake killings by the army in North Garo Hills assistant general secretary. The previous one in Petchong-Jongki had left two innocent people dead.

GSU North Zone assistant general secretary Wilness Marak has alleged the army did not followe protocol and didn�t inform the police of their presence. �We demand immediate payment of compensation to the victims. We further demand an immediate judicial enquiry into the matter�, he said.

Army�s response: The army today in a release confirmed the killing of the two men. However, the release clarified that the two were killed when they failed to stop after being asked to.

Army PRO (Defence), Lt Col Suneet Newton said, �The heightened level of terrorism in the area has caused the Army in conjunction with Meghalaya Police to carry out increased vigil.�

The release clarified that the army had specific information of two GNLA cadres moving in a motorcycle and as such had set up a checkpoint on the Kharkuta-Khilor road. �We started checking the motorcycles passing by. Initially, two motorcycles having two riders each were signalled to stop. They were stopped, checked and let go when nothing suspicious was found�, said the release.

�At approximately 8.40 pm, the third motorcyclists, when signaled to stop, accelerated their bike and tried to escape. Due to the huge back blast and flash from the bike�s silencer and due to prevailing pitch darkness, it seemed the bikers had opened fire. The troops returned fire in self defence, due to which the bikers were hit and died on the spot.�

The release further stated that a detailed investigation is being done by army authorities into the incident.

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