Joint meet moots army patrolling on border areas
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 22:21
  
Shillong: The Assam and Meghalaya governments are contemplating roping in the army for joint patrolling in the border areas hit by ethnic violence, on a "long-term basis".

The issue was discussed during a high-level meeting between of the chief secretaries and DGPs of the two states.

The meeting, held in Guwahati discussed various confidence building measures, especially with reference to repatriating those displaced people, who have not yet returned to their respective states, an official told said.

"As a confidence building measure, both sides were of the view that a joint patrolling, inclusive of army personnel, should be undertaken on a long term basis on the affected areas in Assam and Meghalaya. Discussions will be held with army authorities in this regard," the official said.

Both sides also agreed to provide text-books to the violence affected children who would be facing the board exams in March.

Joint visits, comprising administration officials, public representatives and community leaders, would be conducted to Goalpara in Assam where there are some 9,500 displaced people still sheltered in the relief camps and are reluctant to come back to their villages in Meghalaya.

Currently over 1,300 refugees are still sheltered in the six relief camps of Meghalaya, while on Assam side there are some 9,500 refugees displaced in the ethnic riots last month. About 6,500 in the camps of Assam are those who have fled from Meghalaya in the wake of violence.

There are reports that unscrupulous elements were instigating the refugees in Assam, prompting them not to return, an issue that was taken up during today's meeting.

The meeting also mooted coverage of the affected through rural development and urban housing schemes, besides other livelihood programmes, the official said.

Both sides also decided to take steps for damage assessment and the demand from the refugees for provision of one year free ration.

Twelve people were killed, thousands of houses torched and some 50,000 people displaced in the riots of Meghalaya's East Garo Hills and neighbouring Assam's Goalpara district between January 1 and 9.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 22:21


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