Garo students demand Central intervention in border clashes

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SHILLONG, Jan 9 (NNN): Not satisfied with the way the Assam government handled the situation arising out of the ethnic violence in the Assam-Meghalaya border, the Garo Students’ Union – Khasi Hills Zone (GSU-KHZ) demanded the Central government to impose a President`s Rule immediately in Assam in order to defuse the communcal tension between the two communities.
The GSU also strongly condemned the Assam government for the complete failure to maintain law and order.
Besides, the GSU-KHZ also urged the Meghalaya government to withdraw the curfew immediately in East Garo Hills, as due to the curfew the people of Meghalaya cannot march to Assam to protect the lives of the Garo people in Assam. “We have totally lost faith in Assam government because when the Garo people came out, they impose curfew but for Rabha community they can move free hand and torch the Garo villages in Assam, but the administrator remain mute spectator”, the GSU-KHZ  said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
It may be recalled at least 10 people have been killed this week and up to 40,000 displaced by an upsurge of violence between two rival ethnic groups.
The ongoing violence between the Rabha and Garo tribes who live along the border between India`s Assam and Meghalaya states was sparked by demands by the Garo tribe to have an autonomous local government council.” Ten people have died in the ethnic clashes in the last three days and about 20 injured with rampaging mobs from both communities attacking each other,” Bhumidhar Barman, Assam`s relief and rehabilitation minister told AFP.
According to local officials in Guwahati, Assam`s main city, an estimated 32,000 people had fled their homes and were taking shelter in playgrounds and government schools and offices.
In adjoining Meghalaya state authorities said nearly 8,000 people had been displaced by the clashes. The governments of the two states have opened relief camps to accommodate the displaced and were providing food, clothes and medicines to those who fled their homes for fear of attacks. We shall ensure that all relief material is provided to the people who have taken refuge in nearly a dozen makeshift shelters along both sides of the state border,” Barman said.
Authorities said there was a history of tension between the two groups and they had imposed a curfew in Assam`s Goalpara district and Meghalaya`s East Garo Hills district where the fighting took place. “We have deployed hundreds of paramilitary and soldiers to prevent fresh violence,” said Luis Aind, a senior police officer in Assam. Northeast India is home to dozens of tribal groups and small guerrilla armies that resist rule from New Delhi and are often opposed to one other.

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