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SHILLONG: As a mark of protest against the atrocities committed by the police personnel in Garo Hills, the ADE Apex Committee has called for a 12 hour bandh (5am -5pm) in the whole of Garo Hills on March 31.
The bandh was also called in view of the recent attack on the office of the Association for Democracy (ADE) by police/ SWAT personnel.
According to the ADE President Dalseng Bira CH Momin, on the evening of March 27 at around 10:30 pm some police/swat personnel trespassed and unlawful entry into the office of the ADE at Araimile, Tura and vandalized the whole office and also arrested one of its member without any valid reason whatsoever and assaulted a member of the organization who have received bruises and cut marks.
"It was only after leaders of the ADE, GSU, FKJGP and AYWO approached the police station, the arrested member was later released at around 12:00 midnight," Momin said while condemning the highhandedness of the police.
The incident is a clear case of police highhandedness where the armed branch is given a free hand to act as in a police state, Momin said adding "On top of it, many police personnel on duty consume liquor and carry out their duties in an intoxicated state."
While suspecting that the act was pre planned and was carried out deliberately against the ADE, Momin said that the attack on the office came swiftly after the Association raised its voices on the issue relating to the fake encounter of Sengbat Ch. Marak carried out by some police/swat personnel at Romba A'ding, near Oragitok on the morning of March 4.
"Furthermore, we suspect that the police have deliberately targeted the office of ADE as we have hosted meetings with co NGO's such as GSU, FKJGP, AYWO and others with regards to the fake encounter," said the ADE Presdient adding that it cannot be a coincidence that the act was carried out at a time when the leaders of the NGO's where at Shillong to attend the crucial ILP meeting.
The association also suspected that the police are trying to demoralize its members from speaking against the fake encounters and other police atrocities by coercive methods.
Notwithstanding all these threats, the ADE is determined to carry on its struggle while resolving to stand by its decision and not to give in to such gung ho attitude of the police, Momin said while appealing to all the fellow NGO's to stand resolved in fighting for justice for Sengbath Ch. Marak and not bow down to the bullying tactics of the police.
The Association has put forth its demands which included the immediate arrest of the police/swat personnel who trespassed and vandalized the association's office and assaulted its member, to ensure that the personnel responsible for the fake encounter of Oragitok are immediately brought to justice. "We also demand the police department to immediately pay compensation for the damage done to the ADE Office," added the ADE president.
The Association has also demanded the identities of two police personnel who vandalized its office and the identities of all the police personnel in the three police gypsies (vehicles) and a vehicle equipped with the satellite dish who were involved in the incident.
"The police department can easily identify the police force in the area as per their duty roster and it will be just a whitewash if the police department says that they have no knowledge of the police people involved," Momin said.