A civil society group on Thursday demanded the arrest of a Cabinet Minister’s brother for allegedly carrying out illegal mining and accused him to be indirectly responsible for the death of six coal miners in the East Jaintia Hills district recently.
The East Jaintia National Council (EJNC) has questioned the delay to arrest the mine owner and those involved in the illegal coal mining which also led to the death of six labourers in the East Jaintia Hills district.
Addressing media persons, EJNC president Sambormi Lyngdoh said the council was shocked by the statement of the home minister, Lahkmen Rymbui that the mine owner who was identified as Lar Bareh is not aware who is carrying out mining on his land.
He said that this was also despite the statement made by the labourers who have alleged that the mining was being carried out by two people including Bison Shylla, who is the brother of a cabinet minister.
“The big question here is that during the Ksan incident which killed 16 miners, it took the authority concerned only one week to arrest the mine owners but in this case, the real culprits are let go scot-free,” Lyngdoh said.
“We highly suspect political backup behind the delay to arrest the mine owner,” he said while demanding the immediate arrest of all those involved including the brother of the minister.
Lyngdoh also alleged that the 17 persons who were picked up by the police in connection with the incident are all managers and labourers.
“The government should stop arresting small fries and start taking action against the real culprits to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur,” he said.
Asked, Lyngdoh said the council will be compelled to lodge FIR against mine owner, the brother of the minister and others.
Clarifying his stand on Thursday, the UDP legislator and the cabinet Minister Kyrmen Shylla said if his family is involved they should be picked up and questioned and punished as per the law.
Cabinet minister Kyrmen Shylla said action should be taken against his family members if they are found indulging in illegal coal mining.
“If it is proven that my family members are involved, they should be picked up and question and inquiry should be done against them…they should be punished as per law,” Shylla told reporters.
He was reacting to the allegation that his brother B Shylla was involved in the recent incident of illegal coal mining, which killed six labourers at Sorkari near Rymbai village in East Jaintia Hills district.
Shylla however urged the authority concerned to conduct a proper inquiry into the incident and ensure that innocent people should not be punished.
Asked, the minister said he does not know why his brother’s name keeps coming up again and again. “If he is involved, he should be punished, if I am involved, I should also be punished as the law is equal for everyone,” he said.