SHILLONG, June 07: Police have arrested over 40 protestors for their direct involvement in the stone-pelting incidents which resulting in injury to over 100 police personnel during the recent violent protests in Shillong City. Interestingly, most of the protestors caught were not aware as to what was the issue for the violent protest, except knowing that it was a state issue.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, SP (City) Steve Rynjah said cases have been registered against these protesters who were arrested for their direct involvement in creating trouble and carrying objects with the intention to hurt police personnel besides destroying public property. He added that many of them were also under the influence of alcohol when they were arrested and all have been forwarded to the Court.
He said over 100 police personnel were injured and one of them was seriously injured wherein he got 32 stitches on the head as angry protesters even used catapults to fire marbles and stones.
According to him, this was due to the fact that the police who were deployed at the affected areas have exercised maximum restrain to ensure no harm is caused to the civilians.
Rynjah was also injured during the protest when he was hit by a rod from behind while he was helping one of the protesters, who had fallen on the ground after he got injured during the massive stone-pelting incident.
He however said there are also people who have been detained for curfew violation but were later released without any case registered against them.
Though there has been no fresh violence for past two days, the district administration is yet to lift the indefinite curfew in Motphran and 13 affected areas under Lumdiengjri Police Station and Cantonment Beat House and also night curfew in the entire city.
The SP said that the situation in the city is limping back to normalcy but there are reports suggesting that some vested interests still want to instigate and do not want the violence to end.
“We are still investigating to find out whether this is a group or personnel interest,” he said while adding that despite the curfew has been relaxed, adequate security coverage is being provided round the clock in the affected areas to prevent any untoward incident that may arises.
Moreover, Rynjah said that the police are also working together with dorbar shnongs to ensure peace and tranquility in the areas is restored keeping in mind that majority of the protesters of the recent protest are not from the affected localities.
The SP also underscored that the arrested protesters have not been identified as pressure groups but as individuals who have come from outskirts of the city and other districts which include West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi.
“On preliminary interrogation, majority of them (arrested protesters) were not aware as to what was the issue of the violent protest all about but they only claimed that it was a state issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SP also informed that some of the houses were damaged due to stone-pelting incidents and the worst was at the Synod shopping complex, in which the police had to clean the pieces of broken glasses and stones by themselves.
Besides, the protesters had also damaged the tiles and railing on the footpaths in the affected localities especially at Mawkhar area and even wrote foul languages on the walls. Rynjah said the pieces of railing were even sold as scrap at Polo by agitators.
Earlier, the chief minister Conrad K Sangma had pointed out that certain vested interests are funding the agitation by supplying money and expensive alcohols to the protesters.