SHILLONG: The Durga Puja festival in the city has been peaceful so far despite underlying tension after hoodlums hurled petrol bombs at a Puja pandal at Umsning (Nayabunglow) in Ri-Bhoi district.
The incident occurred on the first day of Puja on Friday, ostensibly by groups demanding Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
“We have ensured strict vigil to ensure that the festival is incident free,” a senior police official said, even as he urged people to be cautious.
A conglomerate of pro-ILP groups, which had been resorting to agitations to pressurize the government to implement ILP, had also announced they would suspend the stir from October 10 to October 16 in view of the festive season.
A trader was set on fire at Motphran Point in the city on Wednesday by pro-ILP groups, in connection with which two activists of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) were arrested.
In spite of the underlying tension, large numbers of people, cutting across social barriers, have been visiting the various puja pandals in the state capital and Tura in the Garo Hills.
Puja revelers are partaking of khichuri prasad at almost all the pandals in town.
Cultural programmes have been arranged to mark one of the biggest festivals in Eastern India. Traditional and indigenous percussion contest will mark the last day of Puja on Navami (Sunday) at the Survey of India Puja Pandal at Barik.