Assembly Women Panel Chairperson writes to Speaker demanding removal of Thomas Sangma as members of various Assembly committees

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Demanding the immediate removal of the National People’s Party (NPP) leader and chief adviser to the Chief Minister, Thomas Sangma as members of the different Assembly committees after he was alleged to be involved in a sexual assault case, Chairperson of the Assembly Committee for Empowerment of Women, Ampareen Lyngdoh has submitted a letter to Assembly speaker on Wednesday.

This came a day after a woman has filed an FIR against the North Tura legislator with the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police for allegedly sexual abusing her since January last year.

In a letter submitted to the Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, Ampareen said, “…I urge you to follow the principles of fairness and accountability in the removal of the concerned member as Chairman of Assembly Committee on Estimates and as member of the Committee on Public Accounts until the police investigation and trial (if any) are complete.”

She also cited that there is precedent in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly for removal of members from Assembly Committees, as in the case of Julius Dorphang who was removed from Committees in 2017 by the Speaker AT Mondal after an FIR for sexual assault was registered.

“I trust that you will consider my recommendation for removal of the concerned member and actively follow up in the investigation of the case with the Director General of Police of the state,” she added.

The Congress legislator from East Shillong said when a serious accusation of this nature arises against a member of this Assembly, it shocks the conscience of our society and puts a huge expectation on us as representatives of the people to ensure that principles of accountability are held in utmost regard.

“Our criminal justice system has historically been titled against women, and it is for this sole reason that any rape victim must be entitled to a benefit of doubt when she raises an allegation of sexual assault,” she said

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma on Wednesday refused to comment on the FIR filed against the NPP legislator and chief adviser to the Chief Minister, Thomas Sangma for his alleged involvement in sexually assaulting a woman.

When asked, Mukul said let the law take its own course as far as this case is concerned.

“This is something personal to the concerned MLA and the law of the land should be trusted. We trust our judiciary system, we have a very robust judiciary system and therefore, we should have enough trust and confidence in our judiciary system,” he added.

On the demand made for removal of Thomas Sangma from the different Assembly committees, the former chief minister said those are other associated collateral developments that will take place.

As the query on the issue was raised at the sideline of his inspection to review the preparation of the government hospitals and corona health facilities, Mukul asked media persons not to deviate his focus and engagement on a more crucial issue and said, “that (case) law will take its own course…”

An FIR was filed against the North Tura MLA with the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police on Tuesday. According to the SP, investigation into the matter is on.