SHILLONG, June 2 - Tourists by the horde have left the Meghalaya State Capital Shillong in view of the �serious breakdown of law and order in some parts of the city� while some who arrived here today are beating a hasty retreat.
�We arrived here on a week�s holiday, but now cutting our vacation short and leaving tomorrow. We went to Cherrapunjee yesterday, but the agents cut short the visit and showed us places in a hurry,� a tourist couple from the southern State of Karnataka said.
Identifying himself just as Suresh, the tourist said, all markets are closed and they were �not feeling secure and so was leaving.�
Similarly, a German tourist, Jakob, who came here from Pondicherry this morning, said he would be leaving tomorrow. �I didn�t know about the situation here and only came to know once I arrived,� Jakob said.
He said that he didn�t have specific plans of how many days he would stay, but he would be leaving tomorrow morning going by the situation here. �I have not faced any problems yet, but yes the mobile Internet is down� Thankfully the Hotel has Wi-Fi�, he said.
Another family from Kolkata, who arrived here not knowing about the law and order situation, said they would be moving out. �We had plans to see some of the places outside Shillong, but the Hotel staff have advised us not to move around too much. So what�s the point, we will leave tomorrow,� Uma Kanta said.
Nikhil and his family also had plans to stay in Shillong for three days, now they are moving to Sohra with the help of friends. �We do have friends so we will go to Cherrapunjee and then move out of town,� the family said.
This is the peak tourist season in Shillong and hotels are booked out in advance. Most of the tourists coming to the State Capital are from West Bengal and Assam, although of late tourists from different parts of the country and abroad have been attracted to this pristine town.
Amidst this flight of tourists, the Government has assured all assistance to them. The State Government has said escorts are being provided to �buses.� But many of the tourists coming in and moving out have arrived and returned in tourist taxis and without any escorts.
The public address system remains non-functional despite Home Minister James Sangma promising to make best use of it to dispel fear and rumours. There are no public information kiosks for the tourists to get reliable information and therefore many have been left confused and harassed.
Minister in-charge Tourism, Metbah Lyngdoh speaking to The Assam Tribune said that all possible help is being put forward for the tourists.
�All police stations have been put on alert on the highways. Vehicles are moving smoothly on the highways and we are in the process of putting up information kiosks for the tourists. We would be glad to assist the tourists in anyway possible,� Lyngdoh said.
Meanwhile, the otherwise bustling Police Bazaar area has turned silent with few shops opening for a brief period and then shutters were pulled down.
�It�s scary with so many military vehicles moving around,� a women tourist with her kid said seeing the Special Operation Team of the State police zipping towards the trouble-torn areas.