|A catapult seized by East Khasi Hills police recently.
Shillong, Sept. 15: In troubled times, some fall back on tradition to protest.
The catapult, considered outdated at least in this day and age, is still a potent force to be reckoned with, as it is one of the most recovered “weapons” ever since night road blockades have been imposed in Meghalaya to force the state government to implement the inner-line permit system.
On September 10, an additional district magistrate of East Khasi Hills lodged a complaint at Laitumkhrah police station that while patrolling, three youths were apprehended from Upper Motinagar here. The additional district magistrate alleged that catapults and pellets were seized from them. There were similar stories of catapults and pellets being allegedly recovered from supposed volunteers of pressure groups, which have called the blockades.
The so-called outdated weapon, often used to humble birds, can pose a danger to human life as well, apart from damaging property like vehicles.
Hence, security forces, usually armed with sophisticated weaponry, are not taking it lightly, and are on the lookout for those who carry this potent traditional weapon. “People found with catapults and stones late night have been rounded up as no person will carry a catapult to shoot a bird at night,” a police official said. Many were also arrested after being found to possess petrol.
In the past week, several incidents of arson have been reported from East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills and Ri Bhoi districts, where petrol bombs were hurled at vehicles or government offices.
Pressure groups have announced their next phase of agitation, which would have a bearing not only in Meghalaya, but also neighbouring states like Assam, Mizoram, and Tripura while the state government awaits the arrival of additional security forces from the Centre.
KSU vice-president Frederick Kharmawphlang said government offices will be picketed and a night road blockade observed on Tuesday and Thursday. The East Khasi Hills administration had promulgated Section 144 CrPc, prohibiting carrying of arms, weapons or any material that may be used to cause grievous harm, injury or damage or loss of human life and property. The administration had also prohibited sale of petrol/diesel or any other inflammable materials.
in loose bottles to anyone by any petrol pump or refilling station or private individuals dealing with the sale or storage of the same within East Khasi Hills district.