GUWAHATI: Seven people from Assam, attacked by 15-20 masked men in neighbouring Meghalaya, were sent back home, the police said.
Eight construction labourers, all of them from a minority community from South Salmara-Mankachar district bordering Bangladesh, were working at the St Xavier’s College in Shait-Shait Umriod village in South West Khasi Hills. They used to stay in the college complex.
On Wednesday night, the assailants raided the campus and carried out the attack with sharp as well as blunt weapons, leaving the victims grievously injured. They were rushed to a hospital 15 km away by the college authority but one of them succumbed to his injuries later.
In the aftermath of the attack, the college has been closed for an indefinite period.
“The body has been handed over to a relative while the seven other persons have been sent back to Assam. We have arrested two people so far. Our operation to nab the remaining suspects is on,” Superintendent of Police, Maxwell B Syiem said.
The labourers were brought on February 10 with due permission from the department concerned in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council for the construction of the college administrative block and a girls’ hostel.
“But on February 22, the village authority came to us to say they cannot work in the college. We sent them to another place and brought them back to the workplace on February 24 after the village authority had granted permission. The incident occurred that very night,” Father L David Nukhu, vice-principal of the college, said.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma condemned the incident. “We will ensure that those involved cannot go scot-free and such incidents do not recur,” he said.
There is mounting pressure on the state government for the implementation of Inner Line Permit or ILP, which is viewed as a shield against the illegal influx of immigrants.
ILP is an official document issued to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. Currently, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur are covered under it.