The Federation of Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) could have a lot of explaining to do after the pressure group was served with a show-cause notice regarding the violence that left several people injured and vehicles damaged during their rally against unemployment here today.
Police have registered two suo motu cases in Shillong Sadar Police Station and Laitumkhrah Police Station in relation to the violence.
Police said that legal action will be taken against the culprits and investigation is being conducted to find out the persons involved in the assaults and vandalisms.
The East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner’s show-cause notice demands an explanation from the FKJGP into what is a prima facie violation of the conditions of the rally.
According to the DC, the conditions were that any untoward incident that may occur before, after and during the event leading to a breach of peace and public tranquillity would be the sole responsibility of the organisers and they would be liable for legal action as per the law. The FKJGP had to give an official undertaking that it would abide by these conditions prior to permission being granted for the rally.
Shillong came to a standstill along the stretch of the march and nearby areas, such as Umsohsun, GS Road, Police Bazaar, IGP, Malki, Dhankheti. Shopkeepers were quick to pull their shutters down and the situation remained tense even hours after the marchers came through Police Bazaar, with shops still half-shuttered and with shopkeepers poking their heads nervously out of their doors. Curiously, though, the city centre was still fairly well packed with tourists who seemed almost oblivious to the situation.
Images and videos of the violence rapidly did the rounds on social media. One man near State Central Library said he had to run for his life after some of the marchers cornered him and violently kicked him. Another man, ambling along a pavement while talking on the phone, was brutally attacked with a bamboo flag pole.
Others stuck in traffic on their motorbikes made for easy targets, while one of the worst examples of the savagery saw another non-tribal in a tempo viciously thrashed after his vehicle was surrounded. Even two journalists covering the march were manhandled.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong was quick to condemn the incidents of violence and said that the government has instructed the police to take necessary action.
“Police are on the job and we have instructed the SP (Superintendent of Police) to ensure that there is no untoward incident. We will have to wait for the updates from the police for the next course of action,” he said, adding that the pressure groups should have controlled their members better.