What should have been a solemn remembrance of the dead of Mukroh turned ugly as a candlelight vigil ended in violence here this evening.
Pressure groups organised a sit-in followed by candlelight vigil at the Shillong Civil Hospital junction to show their condemnation and remember the dead of Tuesday’s Mukroh Massacre.
However, when the official programme ended, participants turned violent and lobbed petrol bombs at police. At least four civilians were assaulted and three women police personnel manhandled. A traffic police booth was vandalised and a bus on police duty had its windshield shattered. The mob tried to set it alight but failed in this. They also attempted to trash advertisement hoardings in the area.
Police were forced to use tear gas on the rioters as they approached Barik Point in order to keep them away from other members of the public.
Pressure group leaders made announcements asking those present to disperse but were ignored.
By the time order was restored by police the city wore a near-deserted look as fear of further violence pervaded the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the Hynñiewtrep Integrated Territorial Organisation has designated Saturday as a ‘red flag day’. Black flags have been put up in public places and on vehicles since the Mukroh Massacre.
Saturday will see HITO attempt to march from Fire Brigade to Assam House in Laitumkhrah to protest against the Assam government’s culpability in the massacre, which came about when police from the neighbouring state shot dead five people from Meghalaya and an Assam Forest Department official.
Assam House witnessed a heavy police presence today and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.