Curfew continues in Meghalaya areas, situation tense


Shillong : With the situation still tense along the Meghalaya-Assam border following ethnic violence in the area, the authorities Tuesday decided against relaxing the curfew imposed there.

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Curfew was imposed in Mendipathar and its adjoining areas of East Garo Hills district Monday night after an ethnic clash between the Garo and Rabha tribal groups.

More than 30 houses belonging to the Rabha community were allegedly torched by Garos at Mendipathar Rabhapara village in retaliation for the recent attacks on Garos by Rabha youths, police said.

“We have decided not to relax the curfew in Mendipathar and its adjoining areas as the situation remains tense,” Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi told IANS.

He said the government has requisitioned the army for deployment and sought for more companies of paramilitary forces to calm the situation.

“The curfew was imposed to protect civilian life and property from the designs of anti-social elements. People stayed indoors and the law and order situation was under control throughout the night,” Bakshi said.

There are more than 300 villages along Assam’s Goalpara district and Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district border inhabited by the Garos and the Rabhas.

Meghalaya Home Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh Tuesday appealed to both the tribes to restore peace and normalcy in the area.

“They (Garo and Rabha) should not get swayed by elements instigating violence and respect the curfew in areas where it has been enforced,” Lyngdoh said.

Appealing to both the warring tribes to maintain peace, Meghalaya’s Leader of Opposition Conrad K. Sangma suggested Lyngdoh himself take stock of the situation and take up the issue with his Assam counterpart.

“The situation is very tense and it might flare up, especially after the All Rabha Students Union also imposed a 500-hour road blockade on NH-51 and 61 and other roads connecting Assam and Meghalaya (Garo Hills region) from today (Tuesday),” Sangma said.