The tension in Shillong refused to relent as Mawkhar point has turned into a battle ground between the protesters and the Police personnel. The most sensitive jurisdiction is just few kilometres away from Theme lew-Mawlong, where the road skirmish have led to total breakdown of Law and Order in the state capital. The District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills, Peter S Dkhar on June 4, 2018, on receiving the information that there is a serious breakdown of Law and Order in Shillong City- Motphran, Mawkhar and adjoining areas, wherein there is every likelihood of serious breach of peace which may lead to acts of arson targeting vehicles and causing loss of life and property, with the likelihood of the breach of peace spreading to other parts of the city, Night Curfew is imposed from 4:00 PM to 5: 00 AM in Shillong Agglomeration.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has also denied rumours of the alleged attack. He also ascertained that the clash erupted after a skirmish between some women and a driver of Shillong Public Transport Service bus at Them Meteor, which led to an assault of three persons, who is the bus conductor, the son of the driver.
On the other side, Filmmaker and actor Farhan Akhtar, who had taken Laitlum in East Khasi Hills to another level as tourist destination through his film - Rock On 2, has condemned the violence that has erupted in Shillong a few days back and refused to subside. He also stated that he is saddened to hear about violence in Shillong. Sincerely hope that whatever the issue is, it is resolved peacefully. Also hoping that my friends there and their families are safe and unhurt, he tweeted.
As violence escalates in the sensitive area, many rounds of Peace Meetings were held, yet the protesters will not compromise beyond the removal of the existing Punjabi-lane, meanwhile are being guarded by around 50 to 100 youths; the women folks and the children have been shifted to adjoining army cantonment.
Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) led by National People’s Party (NPP) headed by Conrad Kongkal Sangma, is yet to complete it 100 days in office, have actually inherited the issues of shifting of the existing settlers in Iew-Mawlong, has resorted to social media appealing for Peace. But on June 3, 2018 while briefing the media, the Chief Minister’s statement about the stone pelters being ‘funded’ by some vested interest to create unrest in the city, also alleged that many of the protesters were under the influence of alcohol, that too of branded one, have further annoyed the agitators. Although Conrad has now called for All Parties meeting, the violence seems will still take some time to douse off.
The local representative, Adelbert Nongrum (Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement) is also doing his best to pacify the mob at Mawkhar to come to the negotiation table to sort out the issues, but in most case the situation is not favourable, either due to further provocation via social media, or the irresponsible statement of the Chief Minister.
As precautionary measures, Army Flag March has been carried out thrice already – first on June 2 and twice on June 4, yet in view of fresh violence, the Union Home Ministry approved deployment of 10 additional Paramilitary Forces in the tension-hit areas. The Ministry took the decision considering the Meghalaya government’s demand for the deployment of additional central paramilitary forces. Eight additional companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and two of Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been sent to Shillong to assist the state police in managing law and order situation. At least 10 CRPF companies are already deployed there, informed the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The tension has affected the day to day activities. Few schools in the city supposed to begin their half yearly examination on June 4 found only few students coming to appear the examination, and the city colleges, supposed to resume the classes on June 4, have postpone it for a week.
The government offices too registered very thin attendance on the first working day after the May 31, clash that broke out between Shillong Public Transport Service (STPS) bus drivers/conductors and the residents of Them Iew Mawlong or Sweeper’s lane. The STPS is yet to be deployed, which is attributed to be the cause of low attendances.
Most of the Guest Houses and Hotels have to request their guest to cancel their booking, while the remaining tourists were seen rushing out from Shillong during the curfew relaxation hours. This has badly affected the tourism industry, which is supposed to be in Peak season.
Above that, the price of vegetables have shot up to sky high in the state capital, while the farmers in the rural areas could not sell their produces due to the curfew in Iewduh (Bara Bazaar) which is under indefinite curfew.
The district administration has no other option, but to restore back normalcy in Shillong. As the undercurrent unrest is like live volcano, the longer time the state government takes to settle the problem, more harm will be caused to the state.