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Shillong has been witnessing unrest since Thursday night following an altercation and a fistfight between employees of the state-run bus service, locals and residents of Punjabi Lane. An altercation between a Punjabi woman and a local boy led to clashes between groups of miscreants and police personnel after fake news about the death of one of the locals went viral on social media.
On Monday, the protesters stormed into the secretariat campus after breaking the locks of its gates. They, however, were stopped from entering the secretariat building and began demonstration at the entrance. Three representatives chosen by the protesters later met the chief minister.
“The protesters did not come here with any bad intention. They just wanted to meet me and submit a memorandum stating the hardships they have been facing due to the unrest,” Conrad said after the meeting.
The law and order situation continued to deteriorate across the hill town for the fifth consecutive day. Curfew was extended from 14 areas to the entire town after clashes between mobs and police personnel continued throughout Sunday night. The state government sought more central forces to control the violence.
“In view of the serious breakdown of law and order in Shillong, curfew has been imposed from 4pm on Monday to 5am on Tuesday as there is a likelihood that breach of peace may spread to other parts of the city,” an order issued by the deputy commissioner of East Khasi Hills, PS Dkhar, said. The situation has been “very tense”, he added. Suspension of mobile internet services continued, as did the prohibition of illegal sale of petrol and diesel after a series of petrol bomb attacks by miscreants.
As the town remained on the edge, the state’s economy took a beating.
Inter-city transport between Guwahati and Shillong was taken a hit, too. Tourist taxi services from Guwahati to Shillong were suspended on Monday for an indefinite period.
To bring the situation under control, the Centre sent 11 companies of central paramilitary forces to the state.