Justice Phukon panel holds first session into Langpih firing

Justice (Retd) PC Phukon Commission, probing the Assam police firing of May 2010 in the disputed Langpih area, held its first sitting in the Meghalaya capital on Tuesday.

Shillong: Justice (Retd) PC Phukon
Commission, probing the Assam police firing of May 2010 in the
disputed Langpih area, held its first sitting in the Meghalaya
capital on Tuesday.

Six witnesses, including next of kin of the four persons
killed in the firing, testified on the controversial firing
incident of May 14 last year before the commission.
The hearing will continue till May 28 during which
inquest reports, statements from the injured persons, local
MLA and post mortem and medical reports would be taken up.

Six affidavits were filed by residents of Langpih area
before the commission in December last year. One was filed by
the headman of the village and four by the widows of the
deceased along with eight injured persons and eight
eye-witnesses.

Eye-witnesses Richard Sun, a local activist of the NGO
Christian Society for Integrated and Rural Development, told
the commission that the firing was `rapid and continuous,` but
he did not mention the type of arms used, advocate Fenella
Nonglait quoted him as saying.

The commission of inquiry was set up on September 24 last
year to probe into the controversial firing incident.

The commission is conducting the inquiry based on certain
terms of reference - to ascertain the circumstances leading to
the firing in which four persons were killed and several
others injured, to find out if any person or organisation is
responsible for the incident and to determine whether there
were any lapses on the part of any authority.

The commission will also suggest steps to ensure that such
incidents do not recur.
Claiming that the villagers had instigated the firing, the
Assam government had earlier termed the incident as
"pre-planned" and "carefully orchestrated" move of the local
populace residing in the area.

The Assam representatives did not cross-examine the
witnesses.

Langpih is a disputed area along the Assam-Meghalaya
boundary, with both states staking claim on it citing
different documents and records.

The firing incident had happened at a weekly market in the
disputed village, claimed by both the states, when a group of
people turned on another group with firearms, stones, bricks
and sticks, an Assam police official had said.

Assam Police opened fire after the attackers continued to
hurl stones at the other group who fled to a nearby police
outpost at the village bordering Meghalaya`s West Khasi Hills
and Assam`s Kamrup districts, he said.

PTI

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