MHA has okayed 6 companies of CF for restive Shillong: Meghalaya DGP

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SHILLONG, JUNE 4: The Centre has approved deployment of 6 additional companies of paramilitary forces in Shillong, where fresh bouts of violence broke out last night, prompting police to use tear gas shells to quell a mob, a top police officer said.
Normal life continued to remain affected for the 4th day in a row today with curfew imposed in parts of the city under the Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House areas during the morning hours, he said.
Violence broke out last Thursday after 2 groups of people in the city’s Punjabi Line area clashed after a bus handyman was allegedly beaten up by a group of residents.
More than 10 people, including policemen, were injured in the violence. One person has been arrested so far in connection with the incident.
Security would be tightened in 14 localities of the Meghalaya capital that were mainly affected by the clashes, Director General of Police (DGP) SB Singh said.
“The Home Ministry has sanctioned the deployment of 4 additional CRPF and 2 ITBP companies. The state’s SF-10 commandoes along with a CRPF company and the district forces are already monitoring the situation on the ground,” Singh said.
Last night, the police had forced some protesters, who were apparently involved in the clashes, to leave their hideouts at the Mawkhar and Mission Compound areas near Motphran, a few metres away from the Punjabi Line area, a district administration official said.
In retaliation, the protesters overturned a police van near Roberts Hospital and assaulted an on-duty officer in public view, he said.
The official said as the agitators refused to let go of their strongholds, police had to fire teargas shells to bring the situation under control.
Meghalaya Home Minister James Sangma today appealed to people to stay calm and said the Government is doing everything to restore peace in the city.
“The agitators should stop protesting as the Government has already met many of their demands, which included the arrest of the accused in the assault of the bus handyman on May 31,” he said.
East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner PS Dkhar said a decision to relax the curfew will be reviewed later today depending on the law and order situation.
“Curfew continues to remain in force in the 14 localities of the city all throughout the day. In the other parts, however, the clampdown has been restricted between 4 p.m. and 5 a.m. A decision on the future course of action can be taken only after a meeting of the authorities,” he said.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had said yesterday that the violence was a local issue and some people with vested interests had been trying to give a communal colour to it.
“The problem is very much in a particular locality, on a particular issue. It just happened that 2 particular communities were involved, but it’s not a communal thing,” the CM had said. (TNN)