Ms Kharshiing received severe head injuries in the attack.
The activist has been raising her voice against the rampant coal smuggling in the Jaintia Hills region for the last few years.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to express our deep condemnation with the brutal attack on Ms. Agnes Kharshiing, President of Civil Society Women’s Organization on 8th November 2018 at East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya in North East India during her documentation of illegal coal mining and corruptive practices. Her companion Anita Sangma was also attacked.
Ms. Agnes Kharshiing was attacked by brutally assaulted by a group of people at Tuber Shohshrieh, East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya on 8th November 2019, while documenting the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the area. The attack reportedly happened after Ms. Agnes took photographs of several trucks loading coal illegally in Tuber Shohshrieh area in Meghalaya. The attack has left Ms. Agnes with serious injuries in her head and body. She is under treatment at the NEIGRIMS Hospital in Shillong and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit due to her serious condition.
Ms. Agnes is a well-known human rights defender, proactive in denouncing illegal mining of Coal and Limestone in Jaintia Hills and other parts of Meghalaya in clear violation of the National Green Tribunal and other environment laws. There are serious concerns that the attack was carried out by the coal mafias operating in Meghalaya, who opposed to exposition of illegal coal mining and corruption.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur express our concern with the increased case of targeting of human rights defenders across India’s North East, which involves direct targeting of community leaders and the curtailing of the functioning of human rights organizations, undermining the crucial role of civil societies in fostering a democratic, an accountable and human rights oriented development processes in Meghalaya and across India’s North East.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to urge upon the Government of Meghalaya to take urgent steps to Investigate and arrest those personnel involved in the attack of Ms. Agnes Kharshiing and her companion Anita Sangma. The Government of Meghalaya should stop illegal mining of Coal and Limestone in Meghalaya.
The Government of India should stop all forms of harassment and targeting of indigenous human rights defenders and curtailment of the functioning of human rights organizations and uphold the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1999. The Government should take urgent steps to protect the rights of human rights defenders in Meghalaya and across India’s North East.
Centre For Research And Advocacy, Manipur
Jupiter Yambem Centre Paona Bazar,
Imphal Manipur India 795001
North East Network (NEN) strongly condemns the brutal attack against Agnes Kharshiing and her colleague Amita Sangma on 8th November, 2018 at Tuber Shohshrieh in East Jaintia Hills. Kong Agnes has been working relentlessly for years to bring the issue of illegal coal mining in the State to light. Her work has made her a target of the coal mining mafia in the State. This attack is the second of its nature this year, with a RTI activist being murdered earlier in the year for similar work.
NEN urges the government to take strict action against the perpetrators and to do what is necessary on illegal mining activities before such attacks become an everyday incident. The Government must ensure that impunity is not granted to the coal mining mafias in the State. All efforts must be made to ensure that citizens of the State are protected and have faith in the criminal justice system.
NORTH EAST NETWORK
Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland