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TURA | Dec 30, 2018:

Days after an Assam-based trader was allegedly beaten to death by four NGO members in East Garo Hills, senior leaders of the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Garo Hills Zone today clarified on the issue claiming that after the victim tried to bribe its members, he was slapped and collapsed immediately.

It was on December 27 when an altercation between members of the FKJGP- Samanda Circle and some traders turned ugly leading to the death of an Assam-based trader.

On Dec 27, 4 members of the FKJGP, including its circle president were involved in the assault of trader Johirul Islam (45) of the village of Thepkai, Baguan PS under Goalpara in Assam when he along with his brother in law had gone to the Rongsak Bazaar for delivery of bakery items.

The NGO had sought the trading by non tribals (TNT) license of the trader following which the incident took place. Islam later succumbed to his injuries at the Bansamgre PHC.

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All 4 members, who were involved in the incident, have been arrested by EGH police.

The NGO firstly clarified that there was no demand for money made by the accused NGO members as has been widely circulated. Rather it was the trader who offered the group money as he did not have a TNT license after which he was slapped by one of the members.

“They had rushed to the spot after receiving information of non Garo traders operating without TNT and had forgotten to inform the police and started checking licenses. The victim could not provide his TNT and there was an exchange of words. The victim understood his mistake and tried to bribe our members. In anger one of the members slapped him and he collapsed immediately,” said general secretary, Garo Hills Zone, Raksrang Sangma after a visit to Samanda.

The members allegedly fled after a crowd gathered at the place.

“We are awaiting the Post Mortem report for further steps that need to be taken in the case,” he added also downplaying any attempt of trying to demand money.

Furthermore, the NGO questioned the non checking of TNT licenses by authorities which led to the NGO members having to do so.

“The same incident could have been avoided if the department concerned performed their duty without any negligence. We urge upon the CEM GHADC and Deputy Commissioner of every district to give a direction to every bazaar committees, Nokmas, village headmen to check every non tribal traders trading within the Garo Hills for valid TNT,” added Raksrang.

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