The situation in Meghalaya capital Shillong continues to be tense with fresh clashes being reported last night. About 1,000 central paramilitary personnel have been sent to Meghalaya to tackle the situation. The government had also pressed army into service, which conduced flag march on Friday.
Earlier, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said the violence that broke out on Thursday between the members of Sikh and Khasi community was a local issue and not communal in nature.
“The problem is very much in a particular locality, on a particular issue. It just happened that two particular communities were involved, but it’s not a communal thing,” Sangma said.
The clashes in parts of Shillong were given a communal colour by vested groups and a section of the media outside the state, he said adding that the number of those arrested in connection with the violence were from outside East Khasi Hills district.
The state Chief Minister also claimed that the violence was incited and the authorities have evidence of the same. “Money and liquor were given to people to indulge in violence. We have evidence of it,” he said adding the authorities were on the job to trace those funding the violence.
On Sunday, a team of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders from Delhi visited the Shillong and it is reported that the Punjab government has also sent a team. Sangma had also called up the Punjab chief minister on Friday night to apprise him of the situation.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in New Delhi that no damage had been caused to any gurdwara or other institutions belonging to the Sikh community in Meghalaya.
Singh has offered all help to the Meghalaya government in ensuring security to the Dalit Sikhs, whose ancestors were reportedly brought to Shillong during the British era.
Night curfew would also continue in the entire city from 10 pm to 5 am for the third consecutive day, and Internet services would remain suspended, the officials said.
The Army, kept on standby, had conducted flag marches in various localities after the violence that left at least 10 people including policemen injured.
The violence erupted after a bus handyman was beaten up by a group of residents of the area on Thursday afternoon. Trouble escalated when rumours spread on social media that the handyman had succumbed to injuries, prompting a group of bus drivers to converge in the Punjabi Line area.
Four people have been arrested in the incident thus far, told the authorities.
(With inputs from PTI)