A second disaster has struck Meghalaya’s illegal coal mines in less than a month, claiming the lives of two miners. Three more, locals said, are trapped in another rat-hole mine nearby.The police in Jaintia Hills on Sunday confirmed that Elad Bareh and Monoj Basumatary were killed when boulders fell on them from a side-cutting mine at Mooknor in Jalyiah village. The incident happened on Friday.Unlike a rat-hole mine that branches from the bottom of a vertical pit, a side-cutting mine involves digging narrow tunnels on the slopes of a hill until miners strike the coal seams.The police conducted a search after Phillip Bareh filed an FIR at the Khliehriat station that his nephew Elad, 26, was missing since Friday. His body was found in front of a side-cutting coal quarry. Another body, identified as that of Monoj of Deinchynrum village, was found in the quarry, East Jaintia Hills district Superintendent of Police Sylvester Nongtnger said.An inquest was conducted, and the bodies were sent to a government hospital in Khliehriat for autopsy. “Efforts are on to find the owner of the quarry,” Mr Nongtnger said.The police also said they were inquiring about three miners reportedly trapped in the Sookilo area of the district after the illegal rat-hole mine they were working in collapsed. Locals said the incident happened nine days ago.On Saturday, the district administration began a crackdown on illegal mining operations. The Khliehriat police caught and detained a few miners and registered cases against the mine owners, many of whom were absconding.In one of the raids, the police caught a crane operator named Abdul Hussain and three miners – Binod Basumatary, Bikram Sonal and Arjun Rai – while they were extracting coal. A case was registered against the mine owner, Willingness Latam of Moopala vilage.Four more labourers were detained from another quarry near Lelad Junction area of the district. A case was registered against the owner of the mine, Brojoy Dkhar of Sutnga village.Meanwhile, the agencies engaged to rescue the 15 miners trapped in a water-filled mine in the Ksan area have installed more pumps to drain out the water. The going has been slow because of constant seepage of underground water.