Shillong tense, army conducts flag march following night-long violence
Clashes began after a bus handyman was allegedly assaulted by a group of residents of Them Metor area on Thursday afternoon, leading to widespread agitation on Friday. Curfew has been imposed.Updated: Jun 02, 2018 23:36 IST
Curfew continued in parts of Shillong for the second day on Saturday as the Army conducted flag marches in disturbed areas and rescued several people following night-long violence and arson during which a mob torched a shop, a house and damaged at least five vehicles here, besides injuring a senior police officer, officials said.
The clashes had begun after a bus handyman was allegedly assaulted by a group of residents of Them Metor area on Thursday afternoon. While the tension has prevailed, the continued suspension of Internet services has helped to prevent spread of rumours. The security presence has been enhanced with the doubling of central police organisation companies in the city from six to 12.
A meeting was convened by chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday with the MLA of the area concerned, Adelbert Nongrum, locality headmen, senior citizens, local women and youth organisations.
On the demand to relocate the inhabitants of Sweeper Lane, where Thursday’s incident occurred, the state government directed the urban affairs and revenue departments to submit their reports on the matter.
“After going through the reports, the government will take necessary steps,” the chief minister said.
At least 10 persons, including policemen, have been injured in the violence, which has triggered demands that the government take action against alleged illegal settlers in the area.
State police personnel were attacked by stone pelters in the Motphran area of the city. Teargas shells were used to disperse rioters but people in other parts of the city mistook them for police firing, the officer said.
Trouble escalated when rumours spread on social media that the handyman had succumbed to injuries, prompting a group of bus drivers to converge at Them Metor. The police had to fire teargas shells to disperse them, officials said.
One person directly involved in the assault that set off the violence in the city has already been arrested and is in police custody.
The delegation of headmen assured the government that they will bring word of the successful meeting to those agitating and encourage them to call off the standoff as their demands had, in the main, been met.
General Officer Commanding 101 Area Lt Gen D S Ahuja visited the affected people at the Army cantonment.
Superintendent of Police (City) Stephan Rynjah sustained injuries last night after he was hit by a rod. He has been admitted to the Shillong Civil Hospital, a senior police officer said.
The East Khasi Hills district authorities had imposed night curfew in the entire city from 10 pm till 5 am to maintain peace and prevent arson, officials said.
Four persons, accused of being involved in the assault of three local boys, have been arrested, they said. As many as 11 persons have been picked up in connection with the case so far.
(With inputs from PTI)