A section of police officers and constables from Meghalaya has shown sympathy on social media for a former militant leader who was killed in an encounter, leading to arson and curfew on Independence Day in Shillong.
An SP-ranked officer said on condition of anonymity that it took a stern warning from the Director General of Police R Ramachandran to get the police personnel to withdraw offending social media posts that included displaying black flags.
Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, the former self-styled general secretary of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), was shot dead by the police on August 13 when the force raided his home in Shillong's Mawlai area in connection with the recent IED blasts across the state.
On August 15 when his body was taken for the funeral, violence erupted in the state capital forcing the authorities to clamp curfew which was partially lifted on Thursday.
“Some officers and constables were found to have set black flags as their display pictures or status. Some posted comments against the police force showing sympathy to Thangkhiew. The DGP himself has noticed this during a video conference with officers," the officer said.
On August 16, the authorities sent a message to all police stations directing the officers-in-charge to issue orders to all concerned to delete those posts immediately, otherwise the staff concerned will face strict disciplinary action.
Those posts were then removed and no action was taken against anyone, the officer said.
Thangkhiew’s family members told PTI that they have lodged a complaint against two police officers - East Jaintia Hills district SP and East Khasi Hills district SP (Traffic) -- accusing them of being involved in the encounter killing.
The Meghalaya government has instituted a judicial inquiry to be conducted by Justice (retd) T Vaiphei, the chairperson of the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission, into the incident.
Meanwhile, the curfew was further relaxed from 5 am till 6 pm on Friday as there were no fresh reports of violence, East Khasi Hills district Deputy Commissioner I Laloo said. On Thursday, the curfew was lifted for 12 hours from 5 am.
Night curfew will remain in place from 6 pm onwards until further orders, she said.