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One killed in stray incidents of violence in Meghalaya

Shillong, May 17 (Calcutta Tube) A 70-year-old man was was burnt alive when unidentified people set fire to his house early Monday as tension prevailed in Meghalaya for the fourth day after police firing at Langpih village on state’s border with Assam killed four people and injured many.

The firing in the village to which Assam also has laid claim followed a clash between Nepalis and tribal Khasis and Garos at a weekly market.

The aftermath of the incident has spilled over to other parts of Meghalaya and several NGOs issued ‘quit notices’ to Nepali settlers. There were reports of arson and assault on Nepali settlers in the state.

Loknath Bastula, a cattle rearer, succumbed to his injuries after his house at Mawsawli village, about 15 km from Shillong, was set ablaze, a police officail said.

Batula’s wife and children managed to escape.

In Shillong, miscreants also set on fire an office of the state excise department and there were reports of petrol bombs attacks in Lawsohtun area.

In Jaintia Hills, where there is large presence of migrant Nepali settlers working in coalfields, four people were assaulted and two vehicles were set on fire. Similarly, in Nongstoin, about 45 km from Langpih, four people were seriously injured after they were attacked by masked men.

‘The situation is tense but we have taken all steps to prevent communal clash following the tragic firing incident,’ Home Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh told IANS.

Director General of Police S.B. Kakati said security has been tightened in vulnerable areas, especially in pockets where there are a sizeable number of Nepali settlers.

Chief Minister Mukul M. Sangma who chaired an all-party meeting and also met various NGOs Monday, appealed to them to withdraw the shutdown calls.

In response to his appeal, the Khasi Students’ Union has reduced its 24-hour shutdown Tuesday to 12 hours from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the United Democratic Party has annouced a 12-hour statewide strike Wednesday. The outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has called for a separate dawn-to-dusk shutdown Thursday.

National Highways No.40 and 44, the lifelines for landlocked Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and southern Assam, are likely to be affected by the shutdowns.

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