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Army in Assam-M’laya border, Garo -Rabha arson continues
Correspondent/PTI Goalpara/Shillong, JAN 9:
Published on 10 Jan. 2011 12:28 AM IST
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Army staged flag march along the ethnic violence-hit Assam-Meghalaya border after fresh incidents of arson were reported despite curfew on both the sides.
Several houses were set ablaze in the Kukurkata area of Assam’s Goalpara district and clashes between Rabha and Garo were reported at Hatigaon area of East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya last night, official sources said.
Two Garo-dominated villages – Khasigagra and Chingisin in Assam were attacked Saturday night by a mob, who set ablaze a number of houses after the inhabitants fled, a Shillong report said.
Security forces reached the area and fired in the air to disperse the mob.
Eleven people were arrested on the Assam side and four on the Meghalaya side since last night, official sources said in Shillong.
Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, who visited the affected areas, said two companies of the army along with CRPF and police had been deployed in the area with instructions to deal firmly with the miscreants. About 30,000 people had taken shelter in 26 relief camps opened by Goalpara district administration, he said.
At least eight people have been killed in the ethnic violence between the Rabhas and the Garos since New Year’s day.
Correspondent adds: Curfew was reimposed Sunday in riot-hit areas of Meghalaya’s Resubelpara sub-division after fresh cases of arsons in Assam’s Goalpara district.
More houses of tribal Garos in three villages- Chigisim, Khasigagra and Chitugona were torched Saturday night by their rival Rabha tribesmen.
“Curfew was re-imposed in entire Resulbepara sub-division after fresh arsons in Goalpara and tension along the Assam-Meghalaya border,” East Garo Hills District deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi said. On Saturday, curfew was relaxed for six hours as the situation was limping back to normalcy.
The influential Garo Students’ Union asked the centre to institute a commission of inquiry into the ethnic conflict between Garo and Rabhas tribes that has left eight deaths along the Assam-Meghalaya border. The violence displaced some 30,000 people who fled their homes since the New Year’s Day.
The tribal student body also appealed to the people of Meghalaya not to shelter United Liberation Front of Asom and Rabha rebels who have “fuelled the current ethnic violence” along the Meghalaya-Assam border.
“Garos in particular and the people of Meghalaya in general should not to allow and give shelter to Rabha militants and ULFA in any part of Meghalaya,” Rondon K Momin, the GSU leader said.
Meanwhile, union minister of state for rural development Agatha K Sangma Sunday expressed the need for more central paramilitary forces to be deployed in the riot-hit areas of Meghalaya.
However, secretary Internal Security U. K Bansal had informed Agatha that Meghalaya director general of police S.B. Kakati said “Meghalaya did not require any more central forces.”
But when the Union minister cross-checked, Kakati replied that he was not aware that three companies of central forces have been withdrawn from Meghalaya for deployment in Assam.
Seven companies of paramilitary forces-- four CRPF and three BSF apart from hundreds of State Police personnel have been deployed in the riot-hit areas in East Garo Hills to maintain law and order.
Earlier, Agatha held telephonic conversations with home secretary, G. K Pillai, secretary Internal Security U. K Bansal, chief secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Meghalaya over the urgent need to maintain law and order in the bordering areas of the state.

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