Shillong: Curfew continued in parts of Shillong for the second day on Saturday as the Army conducted flag marches in its disturbed areas and rescued around 500 people following night-long violence and arson, officials said.
During the violence, a mob torched a shop, a house and damaged at least five vehicles here, besides injuring a senior police officer, they said.
The curfew, which was imposed at 4am yesterday in 14 localities under Lumdiengjri police station and Cantonment Beat House areas, continues, and night curfew would be clamped in the entire city for the second consecutive night, East Khasi Hills district Deputy Commissioner P.S. Dkhar said.
"The Army has been kept on standby and night curfew will continue for the second night tonight from 10pm to 5am," Dkhar told PTI.
Requisitioned by the state government, Army troops held flag marches and rescued about 500 people, including 200 women and children, defence spokesperson Ratnakar Singh said.
General Officer Commanding 101 Area Lt Gen D.S. Ahuja visited the rescued people at the Army cantonment. Superintendent of Police (City) Stephan Rynjah was injured last night after he was hit by a rod. He was admitted to the Shillong Civil Hospital, a police officer said.
At least 10 persons, including policemen, have also been injured in the violence, which has triggered demands that the government take action against alleged illegal settlers.
State police personnel were attacked by stone pelters in the Motphran area of the city. Teargas shells were used to disperse rioters but people in other parts of the city mistook them for police firing, the officer said.
The clashes had begun after a bus handyman was beaten up allegedly by a group of residents of Them Metor area on Thursday afternoon.
Trouble escalated when rumours spread on social media that the bus handyman had succumbed to injuries, prompting a group of bus drivers to converge at Them Metor. The police had to fire teargas shells to disperse them, officials said.
The handyman and three injured persons were taken to a hospital from where they were released after being administered first aid. Four persons, accused of being involved in the assault of three local boys, have been arrested, they said, adding that 11 others have been picked up for attacking the police.
Dkhar said the administrations is concerned with the spreading of rumours that has affected normalcy in the affected areas. Suspension of Internet services has been extended by 24 hours till tomorrow afternoon to prevent rumour-mongering, he said. "The affected areas are still tense but under control," Dkhar said, adding that life is normal in other parts of the city and examinations scheduled for tomorrow will not be affected.
Chief minister Conrad K Sangma, who chaired a high-level meeting yesterday, had appealed for calm and urged the people to help bring back normalcy in Shillong.
Meanwhile, several groups including the Khasi Students Union, the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) and the Hynniewtrep Youth Council demanded that those involved in the assault of local boys be punished and the illegal settlers at Them Metor evicted.
"Them Metor has become a den for anti-nationals and it is sad that several governments in the past have not taken initiatives to evict them and provide them space somewhere else," said FKJGP president Wellbirth Rani.