Guwahati: Meghalaya rights activist Agnes Kharshiing and her associate Anita Sangma were severely injured after a group of people linked to the illegal coal mining mafia active in the region attacked them in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday.

The illegal coal mining gang attacked Meghalaya’s social activist and president of the Civil Society Women's Organisation (CSWO) Agnes Kharshiing and her associate, when they went to photograph amd videograph illegal coal mining activities in the district.

The incident took place in the Kong Ong village of East Jaintia Hills district, a two-hour drive from Shillong, Meghalaya's capital.

Kharshiing sustained serious injuries in her head. She was admitted to Ialong Civil Hospital and later rushed to the NEIGRIHMS hospital in Shillong.

The incident occurred a day after the social activist had lodged a complaint on coal-laden trucks parked at Mawiong Rim in Shillong, which were later seized by Meghalaya Police.

Kharshiing has been raising her voice against illegal coal mining in the state since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban. She had earlier exposed illegal coal mining and coal transportation despite the NGT ban in Jaintia and Khasi Hills in the state.

A top official of Meghalaya Police said that the incident happened at around 2:30 PM on Thursday. "Kharshiing and her associate Anita Sangma were found in a jungle nearby in an unconscious state. They were immediately rushed to a hospital. Their driver was unhurt. He fled from the area when Kharshiing and her associate were attacked by a group,” the police official said.

The illegal coal mining mafias had attacked the women and left them in the jungle. It is the second attack incident in Jaintia Hills district as illegal coal mining mafias attacked social activists. In March this year, Poipynhum Majaw, president of Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF) and RTI activist was found murdered at Khliehriat. Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma condemned the incident and directed police to nab the culprits behind the attack.