Other States

Meghalaya RTI activist murdered

Poipynhun Majaw   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A Meghalaya youth leader and Right to Information activist was killed in a coal belt in the hill State’s East Jaintia Hills district on Tuesday morning.

Police said the body of Poipynhun Majaw, the president of Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF), was found on Rymbai Road near Khliehriat, the headquarters of East Jaintia Hills district bordering Bangladesh and a prime mining area in the State.

“We found wounds on his head probably caused by a heavy iron object. This looks like a case of murder, but we are waiting for the post mortem report to find the culprits and uncover the motive behind the murder,” Nazarius Lamare, the district’s Superintendent of Police told The Hindu.

“Mr. Majaw lived in Jowai (22 km from Khliehriat) and had come to Khliehriat yesterday (Monday). He was last seen at the deputy commissioner’s office about 3pm,” Mr. Lamare said.

A.R. Mawthoh, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Eastern Range), said a wrench was found near Mr. Majaw’s body and that the police were hunting for more clues.

Misuse of public funds

Rights activists say they suspect the 38-year-old Mr. Majaw could have paid the price for exposing a nexus between heads of the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and cement companies that were allegedly allowed to mine limestone without permission.

Besides coal, East Jaintia Hills district is rich in limestone. A year ago, Mr. Majaw had, through RTI, revealed misuse of public funds by the JHADC and its leniency towards more than a dozen cement companies that were violating the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and mining limestone without permission.

These cement companies, owned by non-locals in the Narpuh area of the district, have allegedly been accused of operating against the interest of local people and harming the fragile ecology of the area.

The JHADC, currently headed by Andrew Shullai, denied any ‘evil nexus’ with cement companies. “A former chief executive member of JHADC was arrested after Mr. Majaw filed an RTI and exposed a scam in the council. He had given to the police recordings of threats from this chief executive member,” Agnes Kharshiing of Civil Society Women’s Organisation said.

“We condemn this murder and demand stern action against those responsible for Mr. Majaw’s death,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 8:46:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/meghalaya-rti-activist-murdered/article23303487.ece

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