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‘Jurisdictional criminal court to decide other issues on Cherishtarfield incident’

Shillong, Sept 9: The judicial inquiry commission headed by justice T Vaiphei has left it to the courts to decide on other aspects related to the death of former HNLC leader Cherishtarfield Thangkhiew.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma (in picture) tabled the  judicial inquiry report on Friday.

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The report said,”Both the learned counsel appearing for the state and the family of the victim submitted their respective written arguments…and raised a number of contentions to support their respective cases, but as already observed by me elsewhere, I do not propose to burden this report with such contentions in view of my above findings.”

The commission also left the remaining issues related to the incident to the jurisdictional criminal court to decide.

“For example, I do not propose to discuss the other evidence available on record to determine as to whether witness No 4 mowed down the deceased intentionally or in self-defence since the materials I could derive from the statements of the three state witnesses are sufficient for me to arrive at my above findings about the culpability of the Tactical Team-I in the manner in which they carried out the operation; the remaining issues are best left to the jurisdictional criminal court to decide,” the commission said.

Recommendations

The commission has made the following recommendations to the state government to avoid or prevent recurrence of incidents of the kind complained of here and to protect the lives of the innocents from harm’s way.

The first recommendation is that raiding a residential house occupied by civilians in urban areas at night in pursuit of criminals/to arrest them should not be carried out so that innocent occupant(s) are not harmed in any manner.

Secondly, police personnel deployed for night operation should be provided with night vision devices (NVDs), if they have not been so provided; these devices are available in the open market.

Thirdly, the use of tear gas grenades should be made mandatory for the security forces while raiding residential houses in urban areas.

“In the event of raiding such residential houses, the primary consideration should be to avoid endangering the lives of innocent civilians or to prevent avoidable collateral damage.

Sensitization of the police force to respect the human rights of the citizens is the need of the house; a course to that effect may be organised from time to time.

“Henceforth, whenever any raid of this nature is being conducted in urban areas, an ambulance should be made a part of the team so that unnecessary loss of life can be avoided,” the commission said.

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