Anti-corruption activist Agnes Kharshiing and her associate Anita Sangma were severely injured after a group of people attacked them in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday, reported Northeast Now. The incident took place in the village of Tuber Sohshrieh.
Kharshiing is the president of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation and is a vocal opponent of illegal mining.
Reports said Kharshiing sustained severe injuries to her head and was taken to the Lalong Public Health Centre. She was then shifted to a hospital in Assam’s capital Guwahati.
The Meghalaya Police confirmed Kharshiing and Sangma were attacked around 2 pm when they stopped their vehicle in Tuber Sohshrieh to take photos of coal-laden trucks. “The information that I received was that they were taking pictures and filming at the illegal coal mining site when a mob suddenly appeared before them and launched an attack,” the activist’s brother John Kharshiing told The New Indian Express.
Illegal mining continues in the state despite the National Green Tribunal banning it in 2014. The tribunal had also warned against illegal transportation of minerals.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma condemned the attack on Kharshiing and Anita Sangma. “We have issued necessary directions to the police and district administration to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack,” he said. “Civil society plays an important role in a democratic system as they are instrumental in highlighting the concerns of the people. Violence in any form will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to justice.”