Shillong, June 4: Curfew in the Meghalaya capital has been extended as violence has continued in tension-hit areas. On Sunday night, mobs lobbed stones at security forces. “Curfew has been imposed from 4 pm on Monday to 5 am Tuesday in Shillong as there is the likelihood that breach of peace may spread to other parts of the city,” Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Peter S Dkhar told IANS. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had maintained that the violence was a local issue and not communal in nature. ANI reported that around 400 protesters pelted stones on a CRPF camp near Mowlai bridge in Shillong late on Sunday night. CRPF IG Prakash D said, “We request public not to take law in their and resolve issue with talks.”
“The situation is tense in those areas,” said Dkhar, adding that suspension of the internet on mobile services would continue beside prohibition of illegal sale of fuel. The curfew was relaxed for seven hours from 8 am on Sunday but stone-pelting continued, forcing the security forces to fire tear gas shells. The mob also attacked an undertrial prisoner van carrying a mentally-unstable person who was referred to be admitted at the KJP Robert Hospital, Inspector General of Police, H. Nongpluh said, reported IANS.
A team of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders from Delhi visited the Meghalaya capital as the clash involved residents of the Punjabi Line area and employees of state-run buses belonging to the Khasi community. The Punjab government has also sent a team here. Chief Minister Sangma had said, “The problem is in a particular locality, on a particular issue. It just happened that two particular communities were involved, but it’s not a communal thing.” The clashes in parts of Shillong were given a communal colour by vested groups and a section of the media outside the state, he said. “Money and liquor were given to people to indulge in violence. We have evidence of it,” he said.
The Army conducted flag marches after the violence. The violence erupted after a bus handyman was beaten up by a group of residents of the area on Thursday afternoon. Rumours on social media that the handyman had succumbed to injuries prompted a group of bus drivers to converge in the Punjabi Line area. Violence was reported from Shillong on Friday and Saturday too.