Meghalaya: Toll in ethnic violence mounts to 5, army to be deployed

Last Updated: Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 18:31

Shillong/Guwahati: Army will be deployed
soon along the Assam-Meghalaya border, as fresh cases of arson
were reported from the interior villages of the two states,
raising the toll in ethnic clashes to five on Thursday.

Army would move in shortly as indefinite curfew was
continuing in the affected areas of Resubelpara subdivision in
the East Garo Hills in Meghalaya, its Deputy Commissioner
Pravin Bakshi said.
The Goalpara district administration in Assam also
imposed indefinite curfew in Dhupdhora, Dudhnoi, Ranjuli and
Krishnai police station areas last night, official sources in
Assam said.

Gopi Rabha, one of the eight injured in yesterday`s
attack at Gokulgre in East Garo Hills died at the Tura Civil
Hospital during the day.

Four people have been killed, three on the Meghalaya
side and one on the Assam side, as ethnic violence along the
border that began on January one flared up in pockets
yesterday.

One of them was killed by security forces while he was
trying to torch houses at Krishnai in Goalpara district on the
Assam side.

The attacks also spread to neighbouring Kamrup
district in Assam during the day, where a bus was set ablaze
in Mirzakhat village near Bondapara.

A Kamrup (Rural) police official told PTI that the
passengers of the bus, which was travelling from Guwahati to
Mancachar in Assam, were asked to alight by a group who then
torched it.

The two drivers and the helper were missing, he said,
adding one person was arrested.

Torching of houses were reported in Puthimari and
Belbari areas on Assam side as well as in remote villages
Mendipathar and Bajengdoba areas in Meghalaya, official
sources said.

Meghalaya Home Minister H D R Lyngdoh left for
Resubelpara during the day.

Two more companies of BSF and another company of CRPF
have been deployed in the border areas, he said.

Two companies of Meghalaya Police were rushed to the
areas yesterday from Shillong.

The CRPF have also been deployed in relief camps where
some 3,000 people affected in the flare-up are taking shelter.

Garo Students Union and Church leaders were holding
peace meetings to diffuse the tension.

Meanwhile, the ULFA in Assam and the GNLA in Meghalaya
threatened action if violence continued.
"The ULFA is concerned about the unrest in the Assam-
Meghalaya border areas where Garos and Rabhas have been
co-existing for decades," ULFA `publicity secretary` Arunudoy
Dohotia said in an e-mail statement.

"Meghalaya Police are not only instigating the Garos
against the Rabhas, but also intruding into Assam and
harassing the Rabha populace there," the ULFA claimed.

Garo rebel group, Garo National Liberation Army,
meanwhile threatened to `intervene` if the two state
governments failed to control the situation.

"The Rabhas are using fire arms against the Garos. If
the state government fail to control the situation, we have to
intervene," GNLA `commander in chief` Sohan D Shira told the
local media over phone from an undisclosed location.

Over 12,000 people of Rabha origin were rendered
homeless in the clashes and had taken shelter in Goalapara in
the eight relief camps set up by the district administration,
official sources in Assam said.

BJP local MP Bijoya Chakraborty after visiting
Goalpara alleged that besides torching of houses, domestic
animals were stolen in the presence of Meghalaya Police.

Chakraborty told reporters that both the Congress
chief ministers of the two states should visit the affected
areas jointly to defuse the tense situation and for return of
peace.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 18:31

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