In fresh violence in Meghalaya believed to be related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, a group of unidentified people went on a stabbing spree in Shilliong’s busiest market on Saturday, attacking “non-indigenous” people, leaving one dead and nine injured. Clashes were also reported from Shillong’s Jaiaw and Langsning, and Sohra (Cherrapunji) town’s Iew Sohra market, leaving at least two non-tribals injured.
On Friday, a local taxi driver was killed in Ichamati area in East Khasi Hills district, close to the Bangladesh border, in clashes between members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and non-tribals.
The government has announced a curfew in “Shillong agglomeration and its adjoining areas” till March 1 morning. Two companies of Central Armed Police Forces have already arrived while six more are reportedly on the way.
A release by Assistant Inspector General of Police, Meghalaya, GK Ïangrai on the attack at Bara Bazaar, among Shillong’s oldest markets, said all those stabbed were rushed to Civil Hospital. Rupchand Dewan, 29, from Assam’s Barpeta district, died on the way. Superintendent of Police Claudia Lyngwa told PTI that those behind the attack are yet to be identified.
In Langsning, 21-year-old Akash Ali was assaulted, while in Sohra, an unidentified non-tribal was beaten up by locals. Both are in hospital. The number of those injured in the clashes has gone up to 16, Lyngwa said.
The death in Ichamati, of Lurshai Hynniewta (35), followed a KSU meeting to discuss the CAA and demanding implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP). Large parts of Meghalaya are exempt from the CAA, as practically the entire state falls under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule. The ILP, a document that regulates the entry of non-locals, has been a long-standing demand of different tribal groups of Meghalaya. In December, after the CAA was passed, a one-day-special Meghalaya Assembly session unanimously adopted a resolution asking the government to implement the ILP.
Eight people have been arrested based on an FIR filed by the KSU following the incident.
A release from the office of the District Magistrate of East Khasi Hills said there was “apprehension of serious deterioration of law and order in Shillong”. Mobile Internet services continue to remain suspended in West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills districts, while SMSes have been limited to five per day.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma appealed to people to refrain from violence and ensure peace. A release from the Chief Minister’s Office said, “The government has taken all measures to maintain law and order.” Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh has been announced for next of kin of the deceased.
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