A clash between members of Khasi Students’ Union and non-tribal groups left one dead and four others injured at Ichamati village under Shella, East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya on Friday, February 28. The clashes broke out during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and pro Inner Line Permit (ILP) meeting held in the Indo-Bangladesh border district, PTI quoted an official as saying.
Following the clashes, the government had imposed a curfew in the whole Sohra sub-division from Friday 10 pm to Saturday 1 pm and the state capital Shillong from Friday10 pm to Saturday 8 am. The Home Department has suspended internet and messaging services in the six districts of East, West and South West Khasi Hills, East and West Jaintia Hills, and Ri-bhoi.
According to PTI, the curfew imposed in Shillong was lifted on Saturday morning but a ban on mobile internet services was continuing in six districts. Most shops and businesses in the city were closed even after the curfew ended, officials said.
Officials said SMSes will be limited to five per day.
The meeting was participated by KSU members, non-tribals and others residing in Sohra, Shella and adjoining areas.
East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Claudia Lyngwa, in a statement, said there was a KSU meeting at Ichamati on Friday around 3 pm following which clashes broke out between KSU members and local non-indigenous persons of the area. She said thereafter, the KSU members burnt a haystack at the edge of the market in Ichamati and attempted to burn down a house. The non-tribals retaliated and pelted stones at a bus carrying KSU members, The Shillong Times reported.
As per reports, a taxi which had gone to ferry the KSU members was also damaged in the clashes, and the person driving the taxi, Lurshai Hynniewta (35), a KSU member, was injured along with four others. The injured were taken to the Sohra CHC and Ichamati CHC, while the driver succumbed to his injuries.
According to a report in NE Now, KSU president Lambokstarwell Marngar was also attacked and but was unhurt while the Sordar (village head) of Ichamati village was also assaulted. A total of three vehicles including government vehicle of a magistrate who was on duty, were also vandalised.
The KSU has been extremely vocal against the CAA despite a large part of Meghalaya, barring a few areas, which are not under the 6th Schedule, being exempted from the CAA. The KSU and other tribal groups have been also been demanding implementation of ILP in Meghalaya.
The ILP is a document required by foreigners or non-local Indian citizens to enter places designated “protected areas”. Currently, states including Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and most of Nagaland have implemented ILP. Earlier in 2013, protests demanding the permit in Meghalaya had turned violent, killing four.
Meghalaya had also witnessed widespread protests against CAA and demanding ILP, with curfew being imposed and internet suspended in the capital city in December last year. The state Assembly in Meghalaya has already passed a resolution for implementation of ILP, but the Home Ministry is yet to issue a notification.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy has appealed to people to stay calm and not pay attention to rumours.
State Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui has condemned the incident in Ichamati. Rymbui said a magisterial inquiry has been initiated into the incident to find out the truth. He said the curfew was clamped and mobile internet services suspended as a precautionary measure.
(With inputs from PTI)