Shillong tense after reports of attacks on Sikhs as locals call for ouster of ‘outsiders’

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Shillong remained tense as the curfew continued for the third day on Saturday amidst reports of attacks on Sikhs by local population. The army was asked to be on standby after night-long violence during which a mob burnt a shop, a house and damaged at least five vehicles besides injuring a senior police officer.

photo: Hindustan Times

At least 500 people have been given shelter in an army cantonment, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who chaired a high-level meeting on Friday, has appealed for calm, reported NDTV.

Shillong remained tense but under control after the Army conducted flag marches in its disturbed areas and rescued around 500 people on Saturday following night-long violence and arson, officials said.

A senior government told IANS that curfew will be lifted for seven hours on Sunday in parts of Shillong, but restrictions will remain in force.

“Curfew would be lifted from 8am to 3pm tomorrow (Sunday) in curfew areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House areas to allow people to get their essential commodities,” Deputy Commissioner in-charge East Khasi Hills district, Peter S Dkhar, told IANS.

Dkhar said that suspension of internet on mobile services would continue on Sunday besides prohibiting the sale of petrol, diesel etc., in loose jerricans, bottles and any other containers to public by all petrol pumps within the district.

The magistrate also appealed to the people not to trust false reports propagated in social media like attacks on gurdwara in the city, reported Hindustan Times.

“The situation is still tense but under control. The Army is on standby and will be deployed if the situation warrants. The district administration and the state police are making all efforts to restore peace and normalcy,” he said.

Clashes in the city had begun on Thursday afternoon after a skirmish between a Khasi bus driver and a poor Dalit Punjabi woman took on mammoth proportions with the local Khasi tribal population gathering in the area, pelting stones and calling for the ouster of the “outsiders” occupying their land, reported Hindustan Times.

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