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Curfew in Shillong

A Correspondent
Shillong, June 1: Curfew has been imposed in parts of Shillong city on Friday morning after police were unable to tame a mob who were involved in a scuffle with the police since Thursday evening. It may be mentioned that said a clash broke out between drivers of State transport buses and residents of Them Iew Mawlong locality on Thursday morning.

The areas affected by the curfew include the whole of Jaiaw, Mawkhar, Umsohsun, Riatsamthiah, Wahingdoh, Mission, Mawprem, Lumdiengjri, Lamavilla, Qualapatty, Wahthapbru, Sunny Hill, Cantonment, Mawlong Hat (excluding localities beyond Umshyrpi bridge).

According to the order, the restriction was necessitated in view of the information received that there is a serious breakdown of law and order in Shillong city (Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas) and there is every likelihood of serious breach of peace which may lead to acts of arson, targeting vehicles and causing loss and property in the coming days.

According to East Khasi Hills, Superintendent of Police (SP), Davis Nestell R Marak, the genesis of the incident was when some ladies from the Sweeper’s Lane were fetching water and these ladies had some argument with the drivers of the STPS buses parked in that area.

“Apparently these ladies alleged that the STPS buses drivers had uttered some abusive words at them. After this, there was scuffle where it was alleged that three persons of STPS buses were injured. Later, it was found that it was a fact that three persons were injured and that all of them were minors. The injuries were of minor nature. They were taken to the Shillong Civil Hospital but were release after first aid,” Marak said.

He said there were allegations and counter allegations, it was then decided that both the parties would not go ahead with filing an FIR. A GD entry to this effect was made at Cantonment police beat house, he said.

The East Khasi Hills police chief added that later, in the evening at around 5.30 to 6 pm, a huge crowd numbering 500 plus people belonging to the STPS bus association had gathered at Them Iew Mawlong and proceeding towards Sweeper’s Lane. He also said that another group of people from the Sweeper’s Lane also came up. But due to timely intervention by the police, they could convince both the groups to actually go back.

He added that soon after a crowd numbering around 200 then moved towards Motphran and wanted to proceed towards Sweeper’s Lane where people living in the area were armed with deadly weapons like daggers and knives.

“There was an apprehension that it would lead to serious group clash due to which a lathi charge was ordered. This lathi charge took a long time to contain the trouble. We are able to contain the group by around 2.30 am,” Marak added.

According to him, what fuelled the people’s anger were the rumours in the social media that one of the so called victims had died.

The SP said that on Friday again in violation of the curfew order a huge crowd gathered at Mawkhar and Motphran area even as he added that a fresh FIR was also filed by STPS bus association at Sadar police station.

Marak said that one of the ways that was suggested to de-escalate the problem which is also one of the main demands of the groups was that action should be taken against the perpetrators.

“We had investigated into the case and certain persons were detained. After detaining and questioning, we have today arrested the main person who was connected with the assault of the STPS bus conductors,” he added.

He also informed there were incident of arson cases reported in RR Colony, Nongmensong and other parts of the city. “At the moment, we cannot confirm that these arson cases are connected with the same incident,” the SP said.
Later on Friday afternoon, the Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Peter S Dkhar held a meeting with legislators, traditional heads and NGOs.

Dkhar said that the whole objective of convening the meeting was to deliberate how to bring back normalcy in the city. During the deliberations, they have all given the assurance that on their part they would try their best to see that they can bring back normalcy in the respective areas.
“We would like to see by tomorrow we should be able to lift the curfew. We should be able to open the market so that normal life would come back as usual,” the DC said.

About the author

Ankur Kalita