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Assam-Meghalaya border tense; more forces sought

January 04, 2011 13:38 IST

The local administration on Tuesday sought more forces for the ethnic violence-hit Mendipathar area along Assam-Meghalaya border where the situation continued to be tense, with sporadic incidents of arson reported overnight despite imposition of curfew.

Several houses were torched on Monday night in remote villages. However, no one has been hurt grievously, administration sources said.

A government release said the clash between two communities broke out due to some "misunderstanding."

"Sufficient forces have been deployed in the areas and public are requested to remain calm and not to listen to any type of rumours or take law into their own hands as there might be miscreants who would like to take advantage of the situation to disturb peace and tranquility in those areas," it said.

Local MLA and Meghalaya Community and Rural Development Minister FW Momin, who is also camping in the area, said tension has been brewing between the two communities for quite sometime and such clashes occur every year.

"Officials of Assam and Meghalaya are in touch and are trying their best to control the situation," he said.

Indefinite curfew was clamped on Monday night in the Mendipathar area after several cases of arson and burning of houses, affecting over 200 people who have been shifted to relief camps after being rendered homeless.

Reports of mob build-up, burning of houses of both communities and arson cases were reported from various other neighbouring places like Dainadubi, Manikganj and Bajengdoba.

"The situation is still tense. There would be no relaxation of the curfew as of now. We have sought more forces to tackle the situation," East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi, who along with other senior officials are camping in the area, told PTI.

A clash had broke out between Garo and Rabha groups at Nolbari bordering Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district and Assam's Goalpara district on Saturday evening, and it flared up on Monday.

An undercurrent of tension between the ethnic groups at the border area have been there since long, with allegations that people from Meghalaya being attacked while travelling to Assam. All Rabha Students Union activists, however, told TV channels that people from Assam were regularly being harassed by police officials and miscreants from Meghalaya.
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