Meghalaya: Toll in ethnic violence mounts to 5, army to be deployed
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Thursday, January 06, 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.


First Published: Thursday, January 06, 2011, 18:31

comments powered by Disqus