Meghalaya tea stall owner set on fire, dies

Shillong, Dec 4 : A tea stall owner here in the Meghalaya capital, who was set on fire 20 days ago by masked men, Wednesday died of his injuries at a hospital in Assam, police said.

Bishashwar Das, 45, a native of Bihar, was set afire by unidentified men who hurled a petrol bomb at his tea stall in Bishnupur Bazaar here Nov 16.

A 70-year-old man, Mina Ram Joshi, who rushed to rescue Das, also sustained burn injuries on one hand while a customer was injured.

"Das succumbed to his burn injuries at a private hospital in Guwahati, Assam," East Khasi Hills district police chief Mariahom Kharkrang told IANS.

Kharkrang said a post-mortem examination was conducted on Das and the body handed over to his relatives for the last rites.

On Nov 29, Meghalaya Police arrested four Khasi Students' Union (KSU) activists - Readyonstone Nongrum, Shemphang Nongkynrih, Peter Lyngkhoi and Johny Sohkhlet - for allegedly setting Das on fire.

"Initially, we registered a case of attempt to murder against the four accused, but we will convert the case now to murder," Kharkrang said.

Governor Krishan Kant Paul and Home Minister Roshan Warjri condoled Das's death.

The minister said the government will take all measures so that those involved in such heinous crimes are dealt with sternly as per law.

Das is the second person who died after being burnt during the ongoing agitation sponsored by pressure groups to force the government to implement the Inner Line Permit system to contain migration of outsiders to the state.

In a similar case, businessman Vikas Nandwal was set on fire Oct 9 by assailants who poured petrol on him inside his machinery store. Nandwal suffered 60 percent burns and died in a New Delhi hospital Oct 26.

Two KSU activists, Wankerlang Jyrwa and Badonkupar Nongbri, were arrested in connection with Nandwal's death.

--IANS (Posted on 04-12-2013)

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