Curfew re-imposed in Meghalaya’s riot-hit areas

Sunday, January 9, 2011

SHILLONG - Curfew was re-imposed Sunday in the riot-hit areas of Meghalaya’s Resubelpara sub-division after fresh cases of arson in Assam’s Goalpara district, an official said.

More houses of tribal Garos in three villages - Chigisim, Khasigagra and Chitugona - were torched Saturday night by their rival Rabha tribals.

“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 told IANS.

On Saturday, curfew was relaxed for six hours as the situation was limping back to normalcy.

The influtential Garo Students’ Union asked the central government to institute a commission of inquiry into the ethnic conflict between Garo and Rabha tribes that has left eight deaths in 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,” GSU leader Rondon K. Momin said.

Meanwhile, union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha K.Sangma Sunday sought more central paramilitary forces to be deployed in the riot-hit areas of Meghalaya.

However, U.K. Bansal, secretary (Internal Security) in the home ministry, informed Sangma that Meghalaya Director General of Police S.B. Kakati said the state did not require any more central forces.

But when Sangma checked with Kakati, he replied that he was not aware that three companies of central forces have been withdrawn from Meghalaya for deployment in Assam.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 of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and three of the Border Security Force (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, Sangma held telephonic talks with Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, Bansal, the chief secretaries and directors general of polices of Assam and Meghalaya over the urgent need to maintain law and order in the bordering areas of the state.

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