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Petrol bomb attacks continue in Meghalaya, police clueless
Sunday November 17, 2013 5:48 PM, IANS

Police Sunday remained clueless about arson incidents in the Meghalaya capital over the past two days involving unidentified assailants hurling petrol bombs. Police suspect groups demanding introduction of inner line permit, a British-era law, to contain migration of outsiders to the state.

In pre-dawn attacks Sunday, assailants lobbed petrol bombs at the residence of Avishek Chettri and at the house of Chandrabala Chettri inside the Sulleman compound near the Lumdiengjri police station, East Khasi Hills district police chief Mariahom Kharkrang told IANS.

No one was injured in the attacks that occurred around 2.45 a.m., he said.

Sunday's incident took place just 16 hours after a tea-stall was set ablaze in which its owner was severely burnt.

On Saturday, two to three masked men lobbed a petrol bomb at a tea-stall in Bishnupur Bazaar in which 45-year-old tea-stall owner Bishashwar Das received grievous burns. Das was shifted to a hospital in Guwahati after his condition deteriorated in hospital here.

Meghalaya, particularly the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, has witnessed several cases of arson since Sep 2 after talks between Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and pro-Inner Line Permit (ILP) pressure groups reached a dead end.

Police suspect that the petrol bombs were hurled by activists of the pressure groups who are demanding the introduction of inner line permit, a British-era law, to contain the migration of outsiders to the state.

Several cases of arson have been reported in the East and West Khasi Hill districts and more than 50 pro-ILP activists have been arrested.

On Sunday, one of the petrol bombs hit the wood-panelled kitchen of the house belonging to Avishek, while two other petrol bombs hit the next house belonging to Chandrabala. Only one bomb exploded and damaged clothes hanging outside her house.

"We strongly suspect that these (petrol bombs) attacks were carried out by the pro-ILP groups with an intention to create disturbance in Shillong," Kharkrang said. So far, no one has been arrested in both the incidents.

In a similar case, businessman Vikas Nandwal was set on fire Oct 9 by assailants who poured petrol on him inside his machinery store. Nandwal suffered 60 percent burns and died in a New Delhi hospital Oct 26.

Wankerlang Jyrwa and Badonkupar Nongbri, two Khasi Students' Union (KSU) activists, have been arrested in connection with Nandwal's death.

Fourteen organisations, including the KSU, the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia, Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front, are demanding the introduction of the ILP system.

They say the absence of ILP would result in unchecked migration to Meghalaya, given the state's proximity to Bangladesh and Assam.

ILP is an official travel document issued by the union government allowing inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside such states to obtain permit for entering into the restricted areas.

However, the chief minister has ruled out re-introduction of the British-era inner line permit system to check illegal migrants from Bangladesh, but has promised strict laws to curb infiltration.

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