June 11, 2018

India: What's Behind the Shillong communal clashes ?

Behind the Shillong communal clashes: Old grudges, a real estate row and Khasi nationalism

On the morning of May 31, a 34-year-old Khasi man was at work in his electronics shop in Shillong’s Laimer neighbourhood when a friend told him that there had been “an attempt to murder” three Khasi boys in Motphran, a locality about 4 km away. The details at that point were sketchy, the shop owner recalled, but he was told that the perpetrators were residents of Punjabi Line, a colony that houses members of the Dalit Sikh community whose ancestors were brought to Shillong in the 19th century by the colonial administration to work as manual scavengers. Many residents of the colony, in the heart of the city’s commercial hub, still work as government sanitation workers. [ . . . ]