Curfew extended to more areas in Meghalaya after clashes

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SHILLONG - Curfew was extended to other areas in Meghalaya’s Resubelpara sub-division Thursday in the wake of escalation of violence in the ethnic clashes between Garo and Rabha tribals along the Meghalaya-Assam border.

Four people were killed and eight critically injured Wednesday, while thousands of people were displaced in the clashes between two warring tribes which were sparked off ion New Year’s Day.

“Curfew has been extended to the entire Resubelpara sub-division after Wednesday’s killings and incidents of arson in violence-hit areas,” East Garo Hills district Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi told IANS.

He said the army has been called out in the violence-hit East Garo Hills district to assist the local police to ensure that there is no further breakdown of law and order situation.

“The situation is very tense but under control,” Bakshi said.

Three companies of the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, besides two companies of the state police, have already been deployed after curfew was imposed in Mendiapathar and its adjoining areas Monday night.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was in touch with Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in the wake of communal flare up.

“I strongly feel that a united effort from the governments (Assam-Meghalaya) is imperative to restore normalcy in the area,” Sangma said.

Union Minister of State Agatha K. Sangma, a local MP from Tura, Meghalaya Home Minister H.D.R Lyngdoh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma rushed to the area Thursday morning to take stock of the situation.

On Wednesday, three Rabha youths were bludgeoned to death by Garos at Gokulgre area in East Garo Hills district, while one Garo tribal was killed in police firing at Rongjuli in Assam’s Goalpara district bordering the violence-hit area after a mob tried to attack police.

The clash between the two warring tribes erupted on New Year celebrations when the Rabhas attacked a wedding party of the Garos and also targeted a Garo pastor.

The state’s Leader of Opposition Conrad K. Sangma, meanwhile, has accused the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government of “taking the ethnic clash lightly”.

“There is no seriousness on the part of the (Meghalaya) government to sort out the issue in the initial stages to diffuse the simmering tension,” Conrad said.

Over 4,000 Rabha families have been displaced after more than 200 houses were allegedly torched by Garo tribals in retaliation for recent attacks on Garos by Rabha youths.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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