9 Cops Among 15 Injured As Cement Plant Protest Turns Violent In Meghalaya

Police had to resort to baton-charging and firing tear gas shells to control the protesters.


At least 15 people, including nine police personnel, were injured when a protest against a public hearing for the expansion of a cement plant turned violent in Meghalaya on Thursday. Police had to resort to baton-charging and firing tear gas shells to control the crowd. 

Officials from the East Jaintia Hills police said a public hearing was scheduled at Lumshnong village to discuss the proposed expansion of a private cement plant, M/s Meghalaya Cement Ltd, at Thangskai village of the district. 

Organisations representing local residents have argued that the cement plants set up in the district have not generated employment for those living around them.  

As soon as the public hearing started, the crowd attacked and vandalised the marquee set up for it, District Superintendent of Police Jagpal Singh Dhanoa said. “Nine police personnel were injured in the violence. Protesters also attempted to set the marquee on fire, but police managed to bring the situation under control,” he said.

Mr Dhanoa said that, after consultation with the district administration and Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board officials, the venue was shifted to another place. However, protesters attacked the second venue as well, and started throwing stones at the police.  

An unsuccessful attempt was also made to attack the premises of the cement company, said Mr Dhanoa. 

“We couldn’t do much at first because many women and children were present. When the mob turned unruly, however, reasonable force was used,” the SP added. 

On August 3, some non-governmental organisations had written to the deputy commissioner of the district and demanded that the administration stop the proposed public hearings for the expansion of M/s Meghalaya Cement Ltd at Thangskai village on August 24 and for shale mining by M/s Green Valley Cement Ltd at Brichyrnot village on August 25.

The NGOs had said that the cement companies have not generated enough employment for local residents. Members of the NGOs said at least six people were injured in the police lathi-charge and tear gas shelling. 

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