The Khasi Students Union (KSU) revived the Ichamati issue, where one of its members was killed by non-indigenous persons in February 28 this year, today by plastering areas of the state capital with banners, including some provocative ones specifically aimed at the Bengali community of Meghalaya.
Members of the union hung banners in various parts of the city, like Laitumkhrah, Lachaumiere and Khyndailad. These were later removed by police.
The killing of the KSU member was revived after allegations of “institutionalised harassment” of non-tribal Hindus in Meghalaya, especially in Bholaganj and Ichamati that were made earlier this month.
The KSU banners read ‘Who Murdered Lurshai Hynniewta? Bengalis of Bangladesh origin’, ‘Bangladeshis stop your atrocities in Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam and Mizoram’ and, possibly the most contentious, ‘All Meghalaya Bengalis are Bangladeshis’.
Similar demonstrations were held in Ri-Bhoi district and Sohra.
Meanwhile, KSU General Secretary Donald V Thabah said that non-tribals are now targeting Khasis staying outside the state. According to him, people in West Bengal had never interfered when the KSU had spearheaded anti-foreigner agitations in Meghalaya before.
Thabah alleged that the people who are now protesting against the Khasis are those who had entered the state illegally from Bangladesh or who are their descendants and further claimed that these ‘illegal migrants’ had, after securing voter cards, ration cards and government jobs, settled outside Meghalaya and are now instigating protests against Khasis.
Thabah also said that recent protests held outside Meghalaya House in Kolkata have been led by people who have migrated there from Meghalaya and other parts of the North East.