Meghalaya police arrested TMC leader Richard M Marak for instigating the crowd that attacked Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma's office in Tura town, Director General of Police LR Bishnoi said on Tuesday.
Marak, a close aide of former chief minister Mukul Sangma, was arrested after a manhunt was launched following the vandalism, arson and an attack on the chief minister's office on Monday night.
With Marak's arrest, the number of people arrested in connection with the incident has risen to 19 including two women who are members of BJP Mohila Morcha.
"We have arrested Richard M Marak. He is among the 19 people arrested till date for their role in vandalism, arson, and attack on Chief Minister's secretariat yesterday night," the DGP said.
Marak was behind instigating the crowd besides distributing money on July 23, a day before to create trouble, he said.
Marak had contested the Assembly election against Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma as a TMC candidate and lost the election.
A mob of over 1,000 people gheraoed and pelted stones at CM's Secretariat on Monday evening when Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was holding a meeting with the Achik Conscious Holistically Integrated Krima (ACHIK) and those of the Garo Hills State Movement Committee (GHSMC) who were on fast to demand the state government's adopt Tura town as the winter capital of the state.
According to police, preliminary investigations have led to the arrest of some BJP functionaries and several members of the opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) who were at the site when the incident took place.
The two women arrested were identified as Belina M Marak and Dilche Ch Marak. Both are members of the BJP Mahila Morcha in the West Garo Hills district.
Two Trinamool Congress leaders who were also part of the crowd and who had instigated the mob to turn violent have been identified but they are on the run, the police officer said.
Eighteen armed police personnel were injured in the attack. The chief minister has announced Rs 50,000 ex-gratia relief to the injured policemen.
A night curfew was also announced in Tura town on Monday night.
District Deputy Commissioner Jagdish Chelani has asked all educational institutions within Tura Municipal Area to remain shut on Tuesday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of the volatile situation, a district official told PTI.
Meanwhile, BJP president Ernest Mawrie has issued a statement condemning the incident and said a disciplinary committee will be asked to submit a report against those involved within 15 days time.
"The party did not endorse any form of violent protest and neither had the party issued any directive to its mahila morcha to participate in any such protest," Mawrie said.
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