Rioters ‘attack’ women cops inside civil hospital

Law and order goes for a toss as protesters attack policemen, civilians

SHILLONG, Nov 24: Chaos and mayhem reigned supreme on Thursday when rioters attacked three women police constables inside the Shillong Civil Hospital premises in what may be roughly summed up as an unprecedented incident in Meghalaya’s history.
The three women cops sustained minor injuries in the attack, videos of which started doing the rounds late Thursday evening.
The rioters barged into the hospital premises as panic gripped the general public, patients and staff.
The rioting inside the Shillong Civil Hospital marks a new low in the history of protests the state has witnessed since its inception.
Eyewitnesses of the attack told The Shillong Times that after leaving the civil hospital premises, the rioters attacked passers-by and two-wheeler riders with traffic cones. They also smashed the windshield of a few vehicles with the same cones.
The East Khasi Hills district magistrate had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC on October 31 restricting assembly of five or more people in the entire city and its adjoining areas. The order was imposed to prevent any groups or untoward elements from blatantly misusing rallies/processions to indulge in criminal acts, thereby disrupting public order.
A mockery of the prohibitory orders and complete breakdown of the law-and-order machinery was witnessed when the crowd dispersed after the sit-in and candlelight vigil held at the Shillong Civil Hospital junction.
During the rumpus, a police requisitioned bus and a gypsy were vandalised. Attempts were also made to torch the bus.
A traffic booth near the hospital was dismantled and vandalised as rioters attempted to torch the advertisement hoardings in the civil hospital premises.
Rioters hurled stones and petrol bombs on police personnel who retaliated by firing tear-gas canisters to disperse the mob. Police stopped movement of vehicles between Barik junction and Laban junction and traffic was diverted towards the road to Pine Mount Hill.
Seven people, including four police personnel, were injured in the clash. One of the injured civilians, who were assaulted near the Centenary junction, was taken to the hospital. Another person was assaulted at Bishnupur.
Despite the riots, police ruled out imposition of curfew in the city. A senior police official, however, said legal action would be taken against the rioters.
Earlier, as the sit-in hours approached, shops in several localities of the city and commercial hubs downed their shutters for the day.
Following reports of violence, shops in localities like Rilbong, Laban, Malki and other localities were asked to shut down.
Government employees walked out of offices early fearing and expecting violence.
A large posse of CRPF personnel was deployed outside Assam Kristi Kendra and Assam House at Dhankheti.

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