Shillong, May 13: The West Garo Hills district administration will continue with the night curfew in the plain belt areas of the district for some more days, to prevent any communal flare-up.
The administration has further relaxed the curfew during the day to 12 hours from 6am to 6pm. West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi today said considering the improvement in the law and order situation following last week’s communal tension in Rajabala and other plain belt areas, he has decided to relax the curfew hours.
There were minor incidents of clashes between Garo and Muslim communities residing in West Garo Hills last week. Though the situation was brought under control, goons on the Assam-Meghalaya border area had tried to take advantage of the situation.
There were also reports that some political leaders were involved in creating communal tension in the area for their political mileage. The unfounded text messages of people being attacked had added to the confusion, prompting the deputy commissioner to resort to imposition of curfew.
Bakshi said since the people themselves wanted the curfew to remain during the night, he decided to carry on with the curfew during night hours. The apprehension of the people is that vested interests will try to take advantage of the prevailing situation. “It was during the night that trouble started and we want to ensure there are no more disturbances in the district,” the deputy commissioner added.
According to Bakshi, there is a semblance of normality for the past three days as there have been a series of meetings by leaders of various communities in the plain belt areas of West Garo Hills, aimed at maintaining peace and harmony.
The preliminary report of the magisterial inquiry ordered by the state government is expected within a week. Rajabala legislator Sayeedullah Nongrum appreciated the role of the district administration and police for controlling the situation.
According to a delayed report, there was an attempt on the part of goons to torch a wooden bridge in Machangpani Road which connects Phulbari to Dadenggre area in the West Garo Hills last Thursday. It was villagers who informed police about the attack on the bridge by the group of goons. The miscreants managed to flee before police could reach the spot.
According to police, because of the timely information, the bridge could be saved.
The district administration has deployed forces in the vulnerable areas following the incident.