BAGHMARA, May 29 � The small town of Chokpot in Garo Hills today erupted in violence as a mob went on the rampage burning police vehicles and stoning a police station following the death in custody of one Wiston M Sangma, an alleged overground worker of the militant GNLA.
While the reason for the eruption of mob violence is still unclear, locals alleged that the police did not allow a peaceful gathering to protest the case of death in police custody.
While the police claimed that Wiston died of hypertension, locals alleged he was beaten up in custody which led to his death. According to sources, people from Chokpot and surrounding areas gathered at the Chokpot playground to protest the death of Witson but were stopped from doing so by the police. A crowd of more than 3,000 had gathered for the meeting from villages like Jetra, Kakija, Gopgre, Mitap, Silki, Deku, Warima and Rajarongat.
The meeting turned violent after police asked the gathering to disperse. The agitated mob quickly gathered around the police station and when asked to disperse began pelting stones at the Thana.
Petrol bombs were then used to burn down two police Gypsys along with a police van. The mob also used logs and stones to block all roads in and out of the town.
SP South Garo Hills Lakador Syiem confirmed the incident. �We were unable to lathi charge the mob as they were using small school children at the front of the crowd. The mayhem continued for more than four hours as the mob sporadically kept up their attack. �It was only after additional forces arrived from Tura and Baghmara that we were able to contain the situation�, said Syiem.
Additional forces arrived and undertook a flag march in the town making the mob to retreat. Curfew was declared in Chokpot block immediately after.
The Acting DC of SGH, TG Momin stated that a magisterial probe has been ordered to get to the root of the reason for the death in custody of Witson Sangma. �The body was brought yesterday to Baghmara as we have to follow the NHRC guidelines and post-mortem has to be performed within the stipulated time-frame�.
The two deaths in custody within eight days have left the Garo Hills region fuming. Locals are clamouring for an investigation into the custodial deaths through a judicial or CBI probe. A bandh call has also been given on June 2 to press the demand.