Curfew imposed in parts of Shillong after communal tension
By midnight, Motphran, a bustling commercial area, was the scene of a major standoff between an enraged mob and security forces.india Updated: Jun 01, 2018 14:42 IST
Curfew was imposed and internet services suspended in parts of Shillong early on Friday, a day after communal tension prevailed in the area.
By Thursday midnight, Motphran, a bustling commercial area, was the scene of a major standoff between an enraged mob and security forces, who tried their best to contain the situation.
Sources said that around 9.30 am on Thursday, a bus operated under the aegis of the state urban affairs department had parked at a junction which in a way obstructed local residents from fetching water from a public tap.
The driver had alighted to have a cup of tea, leaving behind his two sons, aged 17 and 15 years, and a 17-year-old nephew.
Shortly after, a woman from a particular community approached the bus and asked for it to be removed, which the three boys said they couldn’t. She left and returned with a couple of youths who after an altercation thrashed the boys, resulting in head injuries to the 15-year-old boy who was taken to hospital and discharged after treatment.
A complaint was filed at the Cantonment Beat House and after talks, the matter was settled amicably, the sources said.
However, after sunset, when things seemed to have returned to normal, a group of drivers, in a show of solidarity with their colleague, converged at Motphran and urged people, including market dwellers, to avenge the assault on the kid, provoking them on communal lines.
In the mayhem that followed, several people, including policemen, a journalist and passersby were injured in a barrage of stone pelting between the two sides.
The skirmish continued until early morning and after a series of tear gas firing and requests by police and magistrates, the mob began to disperse.
Sensing simmering anger, the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner (DC), Peter S Dkhar promulgated curfew under Section 144 CrPC from 4 am Friday.
The areas covered include Jaiaw, Mawkhar, Umsohsun, Riatsamthiah,Wahingdoh, Mission, Mawprem, Lumdiengjri, ama Villa, Qualapaty, Wahthapbru, Sunny Hill, Cantonment and parts of Mawlong Hat.
A senior magistrate at the spot said that the situation was more or less under control, but the administration was not taking any chances.
“We will maintain high vigil as one never knows; anything can change in a fraction of a second. But we are well prepared and will ensure that law and order is maintained at all costs,” the magistrate told HT over phone.
Meanwhile, the Khasi Students’ Union has convened an emergency meeting of its central body to deliberate on the incident and decide on a future course of action and “appropriate response”, sources said.