Meghalaya violence


  • Last week, ethnic violence left three dead in Meghalaya. A Khasi tribal was killed in a clash in a village near the Bangladesh border, followed by a stabbing spree by masked attackers in Shillong and attacks elsewhere, leading to the death of two non-tribal men, both Muslims. The violence underlined the ethnic complexities of Meghalaya, with tensions coming back to the fore following the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Multi-ethnic Meghalaya

  • Meghalaya became a state in 1972, when it was carved out of Assam. Before that, Shillong, now Meghalaya’s capital, used to be the capital of Assam. Sharing a 443-km border with Bangladesh, Meghalaya has seen decades of migration from areas that are now in Bangladesh, as well as from various Indian states via Assam. Besides the indigenous groups, Meghalaya’s residents include Bengalis, Nepalis, Marwaris, Biharis and members of various other communities.
  • Meghalaya is a tribal majority state, and the indigenous Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are entitled to 80% reservation in government jobs. Groups such as the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), established in 1978, have continuously expressed concerns that illegal migration from Bangladesh and growth of “outsiders” from other states would overwhelm the indigenous communities.


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