Agnes Kharshing from Meghalaya is facing row from police. She had filed Right to Information (RTI) seeking information in a fake encounter happened in the year 2009. This pestered Police department and some politicians at top.
Attacks on RTI activists have become a regular feature and attempts to stall them have intense. Niyamat Ansari was beaten to death in Jharkhand on 2nd March, 2011 and so do Jabbarden Gadhvi from Gujrat, Sonu from Haryana, V. Balasubramaniam from Tamil Nadu. List is too long to mention. But it has not stopped common man to use RTI and moreover to fight against widely prevalent corruption and injustice. Agnes Kharshing is one such brave woman who has put everything on stake for getting justice.
On 13th September 2008, two women’s throats were slit in the outskirts of Shillong and the alleged person, Fullmoon Dhar was arrested in two days. Fullmoon was already charge sheeted in eight cases of rape, murder and extortion. After his arrest he applied for bail several times but Agnes Kharshing as a social activist strongly opposed it in court.
On 31st May, 2009 there was a jail break and 7 under trial prisoners tried to escape. Among them one was Fullmoon Dhar who headed that flee. On 1st June 2009 Fullmoon Dhar was shot dead. Police reported to killed him in an encounter.
When he was executed there was relief and people were glad as he was (in)famous for heinous crimes and known as a hired killer.
But then there was a twist in the story. It came to know that the jail break was sponsored and preplanned. This led to various arrests and girlfriend of Fullmoon Dhar, Ibatiplang Kharkongr was also put behind the bars for helping him and others in escaping.
This was just not enough to make this incident murkier. On 18th June 2009, prisoners who fled with Dhar told media that Fullmoon Dhar shot dead even when he was caught alive. Dhar was shot point blank and the cops made it to be an encounter. The other UTP were threatened and asked to keep quite by a cop E.B Kyndiah. They exposed this truth because what happened to Fullmoon could have happened to them too.
These new revelation rocked the Shillong city and shocked many.
After reading reports from the media that Fullmoon was caught alive and then shot dead Agnes filed an FIR against Jowai Police for killing Fullmoon Dhar. On 2nd July, 2009 she filed an RTI under section 7(1). Police challenged RTI in High Court but court dismissed it and ordered them to reveal the information.
Agnes also started her own inquiry to unearth the real truth. During her investigations Agnes found that Ibatiplang Kharkongr used to errand money and other details to Fullmoon in jail. Ibatiplang told Agnes and the Press that she used to get money from a local politician Thomas Nongtdu who is a Congress MCD to deliver it to Fullmoon. She also mentioned that on the 16th and 17th May 2009 few days prior to jail break Fullmoon messaged her “Boss we are ready”.
For whom that message was for is still not certain. Thomas is an illiterate man and hardly verse in English language. Thomas Nongtdu was arrested but later released and nothing substantiate came out from him. Also Fullmoon used to have another boss Dinush Siangshai who hired Fullmoon on many occasions. This is being confirmed by some people who requested to maintain their anonymity. Dinush is a distant relative of Vincent Pala, Union Minister of State, Water resources and Minority Affairs.
All these details were sufficient for Agnes to believe a conspiracy behind the killing of Fullmoon. She garnered some NGO’s under the banner Steering Committee against Murder of Democracy (SCAMOD) and demanded judicial inquiry.
Facing pressure from all parts, government ordered judicial inquiry under retired High Court judge, Justice Biswas. Anil Pradhan who was then IG Jail & Prison, when jail break took place, was transferred.
In the judicial inquiry both the parties, police and SCAMOD were called. Three Under Trial prisoners who were the eyewitness of Fullmoon fake encounter became the Public witness. They revealed something which brought more embracement for the government.
They told the Commission that Fullmoon along with them was caught alive but later he was shot dead. During their submission they also asserted that Fullmoon was in constant touch with M.P from Jowai, Meghalaya who was none other than Vincent Pala. It was the time of 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
The RTI revealed that the postmortem record reads 11 entry wounds in back and side and one exit wound and three bullets were found in the dead body. Almost all the wounds measured the same size and negate the possibility of Fullmoon running while escaping. Same size wounds also indicate that he was in the same position till the time he fell. RTI report states he was wearing green t-shirt when encounter happened but the photograph with blood stains shows that he was wearing black t-shirt.
Interestingly, the commission judge also relinquished the post in between giving an excuse that he got a better offer.
These astonishing facts came in light because of the efforts of Agnes Kharshing. But she is paying its price. She is booked under a false charge and apprehending arrest anytime by the police of PS Jowai. Other activist, Mary Anne Pohshna who is following the developments in this case closely was arrested on 9th March from her home. Police wanted to arrest Agnes too but couldn’t find her at home.
Foreseeing her arrest, Agnes managed to get anticipatory bail. Acoording latest information, Mary Anne also got her bail. On the recent developments Agnes told isikkim.com “I have managed to get Anticipatory bail and Mary Anne has got bail. Very strange that they delayed her bail saying that unless I was apprehended they would not give bail to her and the victim. The System is so corrupt and the orders are definitely coming from the one in the Center”.
Agnes with the help of National Campaign for Right to Information has submitted a petition to Governor of Meghalaya. Petition demand the quashing of false charges against Agnes and MaryAnne and an independent inquiry to call upon, so that action against culprit Police Officers can be taken.
Who shot Fullmoon Dhar? Why Justice Biswas resigned or was he forced to resign? What was the need of pumping in too much money in jail? Was there any need to keep him quite? Did fullmoon know something? Who was at risk? Why false charges against the activists are framed?
Questions are many but answers are few.