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Assam-Meghalaya ethnic clash planned: Home ministry

The ongoing ethnic clashes between the Garo and Rabha tribes on the Assam-Meghalaya border seem "very well planned and organised" but the situation is slowly limping back to normalcy, a union home ministry official said.



Shillong: The ongoing ethnic clashes between the Garo and Rabha tribes on the Assam-Meghalaya border seem "very well planned and organised" but the situation is slowly limping back to normalcy, a union home ministry official said Monday.

"I have visited the (riot-hit) areas and assessed the ground situation. The conflict seemed very well pre-planned and well organised, not spontaneous," Joint Secretary (Northeastern States) Shambu Singh said on the phone.

He, however, ruled out the involvement of militants` in the clashes, pending investigations.

Singh said 89 people have been arrested by the army from along the Assam-Meghalaya border and a register assigning names of people to create trouble in riot-hit areas seized.

"From the arrests, it has been initially established the conflict was planned and there maybe some organisations behind it. The clashes were not spontaneous," Singh said.

"We will investigate it and action will be taken against those who incite the ethnic clashes," he added.

On Monday`s incident on the Assam-Meghalaya border, Singh said the firing, which began from the Meghalaya side, was done meticulously. Security forces have seized an AK-47 rifle and a light machine gun from the scene.

"We are also investigating it to find out who are they," he said, while denying the involvement of the outlawed A`chik National Volunteers Council, a tribal Garo rebel group in the clash.

Singh, who visited the relief camps in both sides of the states said the situation was returning to normalcy in East Garo Hills, but security assessment suggest more troops are needed on the Assam side of the border.

"I visited the relief camps and assessed the ground situation. The situation is back to normal in East Garo Hills district, and is improving in Assam`s side.

However, four more additional companies of para-military forces would be sent to Assam apart from the already deployed five companies, Singh said.

Ten Garo families, he added, have returned back to their respective homes from a relief camp in Mendipathar. "We expect more of this to take place, but it will take a bit of time. No one would like stay in the relief camps," he added.

At least 10 people were killed and as many as 300 houses on both sides of the riot-hit areas of Assam`s Goalpara and Meghalaya`s East Garo Hills district were burnt down. Nearly 50,000 people have been displaced in ethnic clashes between Garos and Rabhas that entered the 10th day Monday.

IANS

From Zee News

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