Shillong: The suspension of mobile Internet and data services that was ordered on Tuesday after firing by the Assam Police that left five civilians of Meghalaya and an Assam forest guard dead in West Jaintia Hills district, has been extended to 7 districts of Meghalaya till Saturday morning, officials said on Thursday.
Meghalaya Home Secretary C.V.D. Diengdoh, in a notification said that firing incident at Mukroh village in West Jaintia Hills district has a potential to disturb public peace and tranquility, and cause a threat to public safety in the seven districts.
“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. Reports have been received from Police Headquarters of arson and damages to vehicles having Assam registration from various parts of Shillong and other pockets of Jaintia Hills,” the notification said.
It said that, in order to prevent the misuse of the social media to disturb peace and tranquility in Meghalaya and for maintaining law and order, temporary suspension of mobile Internet and data services were enforced for another 48 hours beginning 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.
The seven districts where mobile Internet has been suspended are –West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri – Bhoi, Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, and South West Khasi Hills.
Meanwhile, officials said that a Meghalaya cabinet delegation led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday night and discuss the entire issue.
The ministerial team would demand for a probe by central agencies, either the NIA or the CBI into the firing incident. The Meghalaya cabinet delegation is scheduled to meet with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Amid protest by several NGOs, a ministerial team led by Meghalaya Chief Minister on Wednesday visited Mukroh village and handed over the ex-gratia cheque of Rs 5 lakh each.
Tension has been prevailing in the village in West Jaintia Hills district and different parts of the inter-state border, necessitating deployment of additional security forces in the sensitive areas by both neighbouring states.
According to an official spokesman, the Meghalaya government has also announced to constitute a judicial commission under the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1952 to look into all the aspects of the firing incident.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister earlier said that Assam Police and forest guards entered Mukroh village and resorted to “unprovoked” firing, killing five civilians of Meghalaya and the Assam forest guard.
The Assam Police and forest guards intercepted a truck carrying timber at Mukroh village and after that, a large number of people from the village reached the spot and surrounded the police and forest guards leading to the firing.