Meghalaya: Curfew imposed in various parts of the city

Shillong: A verbal argument between a Punjabi woman and a Khasi boy in Shillong led to violent clashes in the region forcing the authorities to impose curfew in as many as 14 areas in the city.

Internet services and SMS services have also been suspended in the region after rumors on social media led to the violent protest with the officials nabbing at least 10 people involved in the clashes to contain the situation.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma speaking on the situation said: “We are monitoring the law and order situation closely in Shillong. Efforts are being made to bring normalcy in the affected areas. Request the citizens to maintain peace.”

He added an emergency meeting with his Home Minister and other cabinet members was held to bring the law and order situation in the region.

Superintendent of Police, Stephen Rynjah speaking to Indian Express told:
“At least 10 people were arrested for separate incidents of violence that started Thursday morning. One among them is an accused in the beating up of a minor boy which led to the violence. The others (arrested) are for the violence last evening. The minor’s condition is stable now.”

Heavy security was deployed in the Them Iew Mawlong locality where the incident first took place on Thursday morning which happens to be a Punjabi settlement. Civilian and vehicle movement was also restricted in the area.

According to the various reports, a Khasi boy was assaulted after he had a verbal dispute with a Punjabi woman in the Them Lew Mawlong area, while other sources said the dispute was over wrongly parked Government bus which obstructed the path of residents fetching tap water. The bus was driven by the boy’s relative.

East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner P S Dkhar said a petty matter was turned into a violence in the area after a mob including bus drivers arrived in the locality against the residents.

While another senior officer, said one of the reasons for the violent clash was the social media rumor about the fake three deaths. He added, “Stones were pelted and petrol bombs were thrown at policemen who were preventing angry youth of one community from attacking people of another community. Several rounds of tear gas shells were also fired.”

The Deputy Commissioner also told: “We had imposed a curfew on Friday morning. Rest of Shillong remained fine but certain pockets were disturbed. We will consider the situation tomorrow morning and decide whether to lift or relax the curfew.”