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Meghalaya govt further extends suspension of mobile internet services


The Meghalaya government on Thursday further extended the suspension of mobile internet services in seven districts in eastern part of the state for another 48 hours from 10.30 am on Saturday.

This decision was taken to “prevent any disturbance of peace and public order” after firing by the Assam Police that left five civilians of Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard dead at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills district on November 22, an official said today.

Mobile internet services will now remain suspended till 10.30 am on Monday in the seven districts of West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills, State Principal Secretary Home Shakil P Ahammed said.

The suspension of mobile internet services in the seven districts, the second time in a row after the gunning down of five civilians from Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard by Assam police, was extended after violence broke out on Thursday night in the state capital.

“Reports have been received from Police Headquarters of assault on civilians, arson and damage of public properties in East Khasi Hills and other districts of the state,” Ahammed said.

“Messaging systems like WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc., are likely to be used for transmission of information through pictures, videos and text, having the potential to cause serious breakdown of law and order,” the Home department official said.

On Friday, Chief Secretary Donald Philips Wahlang with government officials and senior police officials reviewed the incidents of violence in the state capital and security arrangements in the state.

Four companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to contain the law and order situation.

“The security scenario is fluid and additional paramilitary forces has been deployed to prevent any breakdown of law and order,” Sylvester Nongtnger, the district police chief of East Khasi Hills, said.

He said the police have filed two suo-moto cases on the assault, arsons and manhandling of three women police constables after the candle light vigil at U Kiang Nangbah monument opposite the civil hospital last night.

Police had fired three rounds of tear gas shells after miscreants lobbed petrol bombs and pelted stones at police personnel.

A Customs official Alok Kumar, a Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau official and a retired Meghalaya police official were also assaulted by masked men at different locations in the capital on Thursday night.

“No arrest has been made so far but the investigation has started to identify the assaulters,” the police official said.

The Central government yesterday had agreed to constitute a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Mukroh firing incident that killed five civilians from Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard.

Chief Minister Sangma on Friday met Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and apprised him about the incident of killing of six persons at Mukroh by the Assam Police, and pointed out that it was a clear case of human rights violation.

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