Arson continues; 2nd phase of night road blockade hits trade, traffic

Govt vehicle torched in Jowai

SHILLONG/JOWAI: A government vehicle was completely damaged after it was set on fire by miscreants on Tuesday night at Jowai soon after the night road blockade called by pro-ILP groups began.

The Jeep belonging to the office of the Assistant Director, Information and Public Relations was torched by miscreants at around 11.30 pm. The vehicle was parked inside the office premises at Mission Compound, Jowai.

More arson cases were reported from East Khasi Hills on Tuesday night.

While two trucks were set on fire at Laitkor, outskirts of Shillong, a bike was torched by miscreants at Lower Mawprem at around 12 am on Wednesday.

The road blockade which began at 7 pm not only affected vehicular traffic but also hampered the business activities in the city.

The blockade affected movement of vehicles on National Highways 40 and 44, the lifelines for landlocked Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and southern Assam. In Shillong, streets wore a deserted look with most business establishments shutting down.

In reported cases of arson, unidentified miscreants tried to set the Anath Ashram Lower Primary School in Mawprem on fire on Tuesday morning. A window of the school building was partially damaged in the incident.

In another incident, unidentified miscreants tried to torch a mini bus (ML 05 B 8518) at Nongmynsong on Tuesday evening. However, quick reaction on the part of public saved the vehicle, which was parked at the roadside, from being burnt completely.

Meanwhile, two vehicles were attacked by miscreants at Dongkawiang in Nongmynsong on Tuesday evening. The wheel caps and tyres of the vehicles were partially burnt in the incident.

Police recovered a petrol container from the place of occurrence. Both the vehicles were parked adjacent to each other at Dongkadiang.

In this regard, police arrested two persons– Abhay Das and Ricky Thapa of Lumshyiap Nongmynsong and recovered a bottle of petrol from them.

Meanwhile, markets, banks and business establishments closed early on Tuesday due to the road blockade.

An otherwise busy commercial hub, Khyndailad wore a deserted look on Tuesday evening with people rushing homeward early.

Security personnel were also seen conducting checking’s in various locations of the city and all the vehicles were being frisked.

Meanwhile, the parents of the children from Step By Step School are concerned over the ongoing night road blockade.

The school is scheduled to organize a concert as part of the celebration marking its 35th year of establishment.

The two-day concert will be held on September 11 and 12.

The ongoing 10-hour night road blockade is taking a toll on the already grim traffic scenario in the city.

While most parts of the city remains packed with vehicles almost throughout the day, the situation gets worse in the evening when people are in a hurry to reach home before the commencement of the road blockade at 7pm.

“Such traffic snarls are bound to occur under the present situation,” East Khasi Hills SP M Kharkrang said adding that the traffic personnel are doing their best to tackle the situation.

The night road blockade also means that rural folk who come to Iewduh for selling their produce have to cut short their trading hours thus leading to a loss of revenue.

Meanwhile, Kharkrang said that police will take all measures to deal with the menace of rumour mongering.