Two days after the violent clashes, Shilling, the capital city of India’s north-eastern state of Meghalaya, remained tense on Sunday with mobile internet and SMS services still being suspended.
Curfew was imposed in several localities of the city and Army carried a flag march in the area following clashes between the groups of local Khasi and Punjabi communities.
According to district officials, the clashes had begun after a bus handyman – a boy from Khasi community – was allegedly assaulted by a group of residents of Them Metor area following an altercation with a Punjabi woman.
The long-standing Khasi-Punjabi tussle and rumours on social media that the handyman had succumbed to injuries, added more fuel to the fire.
A group of bus drivers gathered at the Them Metor area to protest the rumoured killing of the handyman, prompting police to fire teargas shells to disperse them.
However, the handyman and three injured persons were taken to a hospital where they were released after being administered first-aid.
According to some local sources, the altercation between the boy and the woman took place on Thursday over the issue bus parking in front of a public water tap.
The small altercation led to the violence in the otherwise peaceful Shillong. At least 10 people, including a police officer, were injured in the clashes. Violent mob also set a house, a shop and five vehicles on fire.
Till noon, 10 locals were picked up while four were arrested by the police. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma reviewed the law and order situation in the afternoon after fresh clashes erupted between locals, armed with stones, and security forces in Motphran area of the city despite the curfew.
A magistrate at the site said about 100 special mob control team of the state police came under intermittent attacks from a group of about 100 activists armed with stones and catapults.
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.
(With inputs from PTI)