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Residents of Ampati in South West Garo Hills (SWGH) district of Meghalaya on Saturday went on a rampage, destroying shops while also setting the offices of various NGOs on fire after trade between residents of the district and that of Mankachar in Assam was stopped by some student groups.
As per sources, the trouble began on Wednesday, Dec 16, when traders from Assam came to Ampati to trade in various goods. However, the Garo Students' Union (GSU), a student body of Meghalaya, chased them out over violation of COVID protocols as well as the fact that markets in Meghalaya were disallowed.
While the district administration has been doing its utmost in ensuring protocols are followed, the same has been extremely difficult to implement.
While we do not mind the fact that the Bazaar was forcefully shut down on Dec 16, we were extremely agitated when the NGO allegedly stopped traders from Assam, who would buy goods from us, one of the residents said.
When they saw no traders coming from Assam to buy goods and since this could be the last market day before Christmas, the residents went on a rampage and began the destruction of shops before setting fire to the offices of various NGOs, including the GSU.
“The residents were angry at the harassment by the NGOs and wanted to vent their anger at the situation leading to various shops being attacked. Some NGO offices were also attacked, including the office of the Market Secretary,” confirmed the SWGH SP, Rithuraj Ravi.
“The situation is currently under control and things have improved on the basis that the market for the trade would be allowed on Monday. COVID protocols need to be ensured during the entire exercise,” said a source from the district administration.
While the situation, as per sources, has gotten better, it has not improved completely.