The Meghalaya government on Thursday extended the suspension of mobile internet data services in seven districts by another 48 hours, after violence erupted in Shillong in the backdrop of the Assam-Meghalaya firing incident.
Earlier on Thursday, fresh tension gripped Meghalaya’s capital Shillong after some miscreants set a traffic booth on fire and attacked three police vehicles including a city bus. According to the state government, cases of arson and damages to vehicles having Assam registration were reported from various parts of Shillong and other pockets of the Jaintia Hills district.
The Meghalaya government issued an order saying that messaging apps and other social media apps have the potential to cause a serious breakdown of law and order in the wake of the fresh violence that erupted in the state in the aftermath of the Assam-Meghalaya firing incident. To prevent the misuse of social media platforms from disturbing peace and tranquillity in the state, the government extended the suspension of internet data services in seven districts– West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri – Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, and South West Khasi Hills Districts, for the next 48 hours starting from 10:30 AM on November 24, the state government said.
On Thursday, a candlelight vigil was organised by some groups to protest against the violence on the Assam-Meghalaya border on November 22 wherein six people, including five from Meghalaya and personnel of Assam Forest Guard, were killed after the firing incident at Mukroh area of West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya near Assam-Meghalaya border.
According to ANI, the protesters hurled stones and petrol bombs at police forces deployed to calm the situation. The security personnel were forced to use tear gas shells to disperse the protesters and enforce law and order in the area. SP of East Khasi Hills, Shillong, S. Nongtnger said 3 police vehicles, including a city bus, were damaged in the incident. “The miscreants torched a traffic booth in the city and hurled petrol bombs at police personnel,” Nongtnger told ANI.
Notably, on Thursday, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured that he would act on his request for a probe by a central agency into the “firing by Assam Police” along the states’ border.
Six people, including a forest guard, were killed amid the clashes at a disputed area on the Assam-Meghalaya border on Tuesday after a truck allegedly carrying illegally felled timber was intercepted by forest guards from Assam.
Mobile internet services have been suspended by the Meghalaya government in seven districts, while the Assam Police have sounded alert in the border districts. In a tweet, Meghalaya CM Sangma complained that the Assam police and forest guards “entered the state and resorted to unprovoked firing”.
Assam Police officials, however, contended that the truck was intercepted in the West Karbi Anglong district by forest guards and a mob from Meghalaya attacked the guards and policemen from Assam, which forced the Assam side to resort to firing to bring the situation under control.
Five people who died in the incident were Meghalaya residents while one is an Assam forest guard. Both state governments have announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of each deceased as compensation.