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Tura Chaos: A timeline of how a peaceful meeting turned violent

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Tura, July 25: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s visit to Tura took an unexpected turn as a peaceful meeting with pressure groups and NGOs turned into a tense situation on July 24.

Meeting at Circuit House with several NGOs from different parts of Garo Hills

What had intended to be a well-intentioned meeting over genuine issues to find a way forward, for which ACHIK and GSMC (Garoland State Movement Committee) had been staging an peaceful indefinite hunger strike for 2 weeks and building support, was hijacked and derailed by vested interest groups as they launched a volley of attacks on the meeting venue, the CM’s Secretariat in Tura.

Following the violence, police have managed to bring the situation under control and arrested atleast 19 people, identified through video recordings and eye witness accounts, in connection with instigating the violence.

Here is a look at the unfolding of series of events: 

2:00 PM: CM Conrad K. Sangma arrives in Tura, West Garo Hills, amid high security.

Conrad Sangma arrives at West Garo Hills

2:15 PM: CM Sangma holds a meeting with several pressure groups to discuss their demands and concerns at Circuit House in Tura.

Advocate Bernitha Marak accompanied by ACHIK volunteer arrives at CMO Tura, adjacent to hunger strike venue
Balkarin Marak arrives for the meeting
Police closes the gate as meeting with civil bodies are underway at CMO Tura

4:00 PM: The Chief Minister moves to the CM’s Secretariat for further engagements as the ACHIK and GSMC were still holding the hunger strike and they did not want to travel too far from their protest venue. Being considerate of their views, CM Sangma decided to move the meeting venue next to the protesting groups’ camp, which was the CM’s Secretariat.

ACHIK & other civil societies engaged in a peaceful meeting

4:15 PM: The crucial meeting commences at the CM’s Secretariat where the Chief Minister engages with representatives from ACHIK, GSMC, and other pressure groups who have been on a hunger strike, seeking establishment of winter capital in Tura and retrospective roster system implementation/backlog policy.

7:30 PM: As the meeting nears its conclusion, tensions flare outside the CM’s secretariat. Sloganeering and stone pelting begins, creating chaos and confusion. Stone pelting, burning of vehicles by mob/vested interest groups begins.

7:35 PM: Police personnel on the scene try to control the unruly mob. Five police personnel sustain injuries while trying to control the agitated crowd. Inside the meeting venue, the CM, along with the PHE Minister and leaders from NGOs and civil bodies, grapple with the unfolding situation. In a bold move, CM Sangma decides to remain at the CM’s secretariat to oversee the situation instead of evacuating from the premises.

8:00 PM: Police begin lathi charge and chase away the unruly mob. However, situation remains tense and the miscreants continue with their sporadic attacks.

8:50 PM: The security manages to disperse the mob and secures the gate of the CM’s Secretariat, allowing an ambulance come in to carry the injured policemen to hospital.

9:00 PM: As the ambulance was on its way to Tura Civil Hospital, group of miscreants attack the ambulance near ITI complex and Araimile, pelting stones and attempting to block it from moving forward. Police reinforcements quickly come to the scene and help the ambulance to reach its destination with the victims.

9:30 PM: The ruckus outside continues for over two hours, with the situation showing signs of calming down.

9:50 PM: With the situation under control, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma departs for his residence.

10:00 PM: Responding promptly to the unrest, the district magistrate of West Garo Hills imposes a night curfew in Tura Town to maintain law and order. First arrests take place by 10 PM.

11:00 PM: The protest site of ACHIK and GSMC, which was outside the CM’s Secretariat, comes under attack. Their camp is set on fire and leaders attacked by mob, forcing them to take shelter inside the CM’s secretariat. They also call off their hunger strike.

10:00 PM (July 24) to 5:00 AM (July 25): In the aftermath of the violent incidents, the police launch a swift operation targeting those responsible for inciting violence. Throughout the night until 5:00 AM of July 25, the police conduct raids to apprehend the perpetrators. In the course of the operation, 18 individuals are arrested in connection with the violence, including two leaders from the BJP Mahila Morcha.

Dilche Ch. Marak (BJP Mahila Morcha) arrested
Belina M Marak (BJP Mahila Morcha) arrested

8:00 AM: The situation in Tura town has mostly returned to normal with people coming out for morning walks, traders setting up shops and vehicular movement returning to normal.

Nonetheless, the district administration has imposed several restrictions for few more days to ensure a repeat of Monday’s event does not happen. The district administration continues to monitor the developments closely while enforcing the night curfew to prevent further disturbances.

Also read: All educational institutes in Tura town to remain closed today

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