Shillong: The spiral of violence that Shillong has seen in the past three days, leading to group clashes was sponsored, says Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
- Conrad Sangma said "there are people who are funding this agitation"
- Mr Sangma has assured "stern action against the plotters"
- The Chief Minister insisted that it wasn't a communal problem
Trouble began on Thursday when a bus conductor, a tribal, was allegedly assaulted by some residents of the Punjabi Line area. Three tribal children were also allegedly beaten. After fake news was spread over the social media that one of the children had died, a mob tried to attack the colony inhabited by Punjabi migrants. Clashes followed after which indefinite curfew was imposed.
"We have understood that there are people who are funding this agitation. Expensive alcohol and money is being given. We will take stern action against the plotters", Mr Sangma told NDTV.
What began as a scuffle snowballed into an issue that has been dogging the area for years now. Tribals have long been opposing the Punjabi settlement housed on government land and have been demanding that they relocate.
On Friday, mobs violated curfew, leading to clashes with the police. Some shops and vehicles were also damaged as the mob threw petrol bombs. Over 200 non-tribal families took shelter at the local army cantonment on Saturday night.
The Chief Minister insisted that it wasn't a communal problem.
"This is limited to a particular locality, the issue is of land and that has been there for past 30 years. There are claims and counter-claims, and we are committed to amicable solution", claimed Mr Sangma, adding that the police had been instructed to maintain restraint during the first 48 hours after the violence broke out.
We have got strong leads about the trouble mongers, the Chief Minister told NDTV.
Curfew that was relaxed between 8 am and 3 pm today has been reimposed.