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Meghalaya sees stray violence: two labourers assaulted, one stabbed

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi, Shillong |

Updated: March 6, 2020 7:55:09 pm

Meghalaya is under close watch as violence returned to the state after a brief lull. (File Photo)

After a brief lull for four days, Meghalaya witnessed sporadic violence as two labourers were attacked, a man was stabbed, and a truck was set ablaze in East Khasi Hills district, the police said on Friday.

Both the construction workers who were assaulted in Lawsohtun on Thursday escaped unhurt while the 21-year-old man who was stabbed in Shillong’s Mawkhar was admitted to Shillong Civil Hospital with two cuts in his stomach. Doctors in the hospital said he was out of danger. None of the miscreants could be identified so far.

Last week, ethnic violence left three dead in Meghalaya. A Khasi tribal was killed in a clash in a village near the Bangladesh border, followed by a stabbing spree by masked attackers in Shillong and attacks elsewhere, leading to the death of two non-tribal men, both Muslims.

Meghalaya remains under tight vigil after a clash on the border, a stabbing spree in Shillong and three deaths have thrown the spotlight on the ethnic complexities of the tribal-dominated state. Explained | Behind Meghalaya violence

Meghalaya Police in its latest bulletin said that curfew has been imposed in Sohra areas from 6 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday, in Shella areas from 2 pm Friday to 10 am Saturday. Curfew will also be in place in Shillong agglomeration and its adjoining areas with effect from 10 pm Friday till 5 am Saturday.

Mawkhar is close to Motphran near Iewduh where curfew imposed on Saturday was relaxed for the first time on Thursday. A CCTV footage showed at least two boys dragging the man to a lane where he was stabbed multiple times, East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Claudia Lyngwa said.

Three companies of Central Armed Police Forces in the affected areas and over 100 Rapid Action Force personnel are keeping vigil in markets at Khyndailad (Police Bazaar) and Motphran (in IewDuh).

Meanwhile, at Bholaganj near Ichamati, a truck parked near a police station was set on fire by unidentified people, he said. Apart from Iewduh, curfew in Sadar police station area including the Police Bazaar area was relaxed for eight hours from 8 am, while night curfew in the entire city was relaxed at 5 am, Assistant Inspector General of Police Gabriel Iangrai said.

Multiple cases registered during the week of violence have been transferred to the Crime Investigation Department for investigation, the police said. They urged people to stay away from spreading rumours and hateful messages that could hamper the peace and harmony of the area and create fear psychosis.

Mobile Internet and SMS services, which were suspended since Friday night in six districts, were restored since 10 am on Thursday.

The night curfew was put in place last since Saturday following the death of Lurshai Hynniewta, who was a member of Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), and two others in the district. Eight people were also arrested from Ichamati for their alleged involvement in Hynniewta’s death. Arrests are yet to be made in connection with the murder of the remaining two, the police said.

The violence last week has an immediate context in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act campaign and Inner Line Permit demand. On Friday last week, a KSU team went to Ichamati village, near the Bangladesh border, to hold a meeting on these two issues. It was during this campaign that a clash took place between student activists and non-tribal villagers, leading to Hynniewta, a Khasi, being killed.

This sparked violence in other parts of the state, with non-tribal persons targeted. In Shillong, at least 10 persons were stabbed by masked persons, leading to the death of a Muslim from Assam. Another Muslim (married to a Khasi woman) was killed in a village called Pyrken.

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