With Shillong remaining tense for the fifth straight day, a curfew has been imposed across the city from 4pm today to 5am tomorrow as the administration struggles to maintain law and order in the restive parts of the city.
In view of the prevailing situation, a joint team of CRPF and BSF battalions has been dispatched to Shillong to help the state government control the ongoing crisis, said the Home Ministry. However, no report has been sought so far from the Meghalaya government on the present situation.
Shillong has been on the edge since Thursday following a clash triggered by an altercation between a Khasi boy and a Sikh woman in a Punjabi settlement with around 350 households in Them Iew Mawlong. Clashes between stonepelting protesters and security forces continued in Shillong the previous night, with teargas shells fired in the area where the standoff had begun.
Reflecting on the situation, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had stated that “certain people” were funding the unrest in the city and added that evidence of alcohol and money being supplied to protesters had been found. He also stressed that the clashes were not “communal” and were limited to a “particular locality”.
Speaking to the media, Sangma said, “There are individuals who were picked up and they have confessed that they had been given money to take part in this agitation… We are already on the job of finding out where the money is coming from.” Conrad further said a large number of people participating in the protests had come from outside the East Khasi Hills district, in which Shillong falls.
On Sunday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced that he was rushing a four-member team led by Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Randhawa to Shillong. A government statement said the team would make a ground assessment of the situation in the troubled areas and extend all possible help to the Sikh community there.
Singh’s announcement came after an Akali Dal team from Delhi visited Shillong on Sunday and met CM Sangma and Sikh residents of Punjabi Lane, where the altercation took place.