Shillong: A tea stall owner was Saturday set on fire by masked men in this Meghalaya capital. He sustained 50 per cent burns.
Saturday`s incident is the second such incident when unidentified assailants have set a trader on fire.
"A group of two to three masked men set Bishashwar Das, 45, on fire after hurling a petrol bomb at his tea stall in Bishnupur Bazaar in Shillong," Mariahom Kharkrang, the district police chief of East Khasi Hills, told a news agency.
He said a masked man poured petrol on Das while another set him afire.
"It is too early to comment on the case. Investigation has begun and we are hopeful to nail the assailants soon," Kharkrang said when asked if the police suspected any group behind the heinous crime.
Das was immediately rushed to a private hospital for treatment. "He has received 50 per cent burn injuries upwards of the abdomen. His condition is serious," a doctor said.
In a similar case, Vikas Nandwal, a businessman, was set on fire Oct 9 by assailants who poured petrol on him inside his machinery store. Nandwal suffered 60 per cent burns and died in a New Delhi hospital Oct 26.
Two Khasi Students` Union (KSU) activists, Wankerlang Jyrwa and Badonkupar Nongbri, were arrested in connection with Nandwal`s death.
Meghalaya, particularly the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, witnessed several cases of arson since Sep 2 after talks between Chief Minister Mukul Manda Sangma and the pro- Inner Line Permit (ILP) pressure groups reached a deadend.
Over a dozen pressure groups have been insisting the ILP be introduced to contain the migration of outsiders to the state. Once ILP is imposed, every individual, whether Indian or otherwise, will have to obtain a permit to enter Meghalaya.