Shillong remains tense despite curfew, army rescues 500 people
The situation in Shillong is under control and the Army is on standby, Peter S Dkhar , the deputy commissioner in-charge East Khasi Hills district, said.Updated: Jun 03, 2018 09:34 IST
Shillong remained tense but under control after the Army conducted flag marches in its disturbed areas and rescued around 500 people on Saturday following night-long violence and arson, officials said. A senior government told IANS that curfew will be lifted for seven hours on Sunday in parts of Shillong, but restrictions will remain in force.
“Curfew would be lifted from 8am to 3pm tomorrow (Sunday) in curfew areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House areas to allow people to get their essential commodities,” Deputy Commissioner in-charge East Khasi Hills district, Peter S Dkhar, told IANS.
Dkhar said that suspension of internet on mobile services would continue on Sunday besides prohibiting the sale of petrol, diesel etc., in loose jerricans, bottles and any other containers to public by all petrol pumps within the district.
The magistrate also appealed to the people not to trust false reports propagated in social media like attacks on gurdwara in the city.
“The situation is still tense but under control. The Army is on standby and will be deployed if the situation warrants. The district administration and the state police are making all efforts to restore peace and normalcy,” he said.
Clashes in the city had begun after a bus handyman was allegedly assaulted by a group of residents of Them Metor area on Thursday afternoon. In the night-long violence that followed, a mob torched a shop, a house and damaged at least five vehicles, besides injuring a senior police officer, officials said.
While tension prevailed on Saturday, the continued suspension of Internet services helped to prevent spread of rumours. Security presence was 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 clashes 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 DS 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 agency inputs)