Meghalaya capital calm after unrest, police launches helpline for evacuation
(Sourced from PTI)
The Meghalaya government on Tuesday said there were no untoward incidents since the curfew was clamped in the state capital, Shillong, following the unrest, and launched a police helpline for people who are stranded in Shillong and are in need of evacuation. A senior home department official said three control rooms being handled by the state police are tasked with responding to evacuation calls.
Curfew has been imposed in Shillong till 5:00 am of August 18 and mobile internet services withdrawn in four districts as vandalism and arson rocked Shillong and nearby areas on Independence Day during the funeral procession of a former militant, who was killed in a recent police encounter. Meanwhile, petrol bombs were also hurled at the residence of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.
Violence erupted in Mawlai and Jaiaw areas of Shillong following the death of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, the former self-styled general secretary of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), in an encounter when the police raided his home in the early hours of Friday.
Thangkhiew, who had surrendered in 2018, was shot dead when he allegedly tried to attack a police team with a knife during the raid in connection with a series of IED blasts in the state. Meanwhile, according to media reports, some unidentified men had also set ablaze a police vehicle and were seen brandishing weapons in broad daylight on Sunday.
Notably, Meghalaya Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui resigned amid violence in Shillong over the police shooting of Thangkhiew. Expressing shock over the encounter he had asked the state government to set up a judicial inquiry into Thangkhiew's killing. On Monday, the Chief Minister had announced a judicial investigation into the encounter killing of the former militant.
Meanwhile, the police informed The Indian Express that Thangkhiew was involved in an IED blast that injured two people in Shillong last week and was killed in "retaliatory firing" in the early hours of August 13 in an operation in Shillong's Mawlai.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has also issued an advisory, asking people not to travel to Shillong in the wake of the law and order situation. Moreover, the Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Monday also requested Sangma to take necessary measures for the safety of people from Assam stranded in the hill state.