Assam ethnic clashes: Fresh firing at the border

Guwahati, January 9 (NDTV):  After two days of relative calm at the  Assam-Meghalaya border fresh firing was reported between two groups on Sunday morning. More violence erupted on late Saturday night as three houses were set on fire.
The two communities - Garos and Rabhas - have been clashing along ethnic lines in Assam's Goalpara District and bordering Meghalaya since the beginning of the last week of December 2010. More than thirty thousand people have been displaced and 340 houses are said to be gutted. At least seven people have lost their lives in these clashes.
Reacting much later, the government asked paramilitary forces to move in the abandoned villages and sensitive areas in and around ethnic violence hit East Garo Hills district.
Meghalaya Home Minister HDR Lyndoh, who chaired a high-level security meeting, said paramilitary forces sent by the Centre had also been deployed in relief camps in the district along the Meghalaya-Assam border where the affected people have taken shelter.
"The additional companies of paramilitary forces are expected to remain deployed for a few months," he said. "Supply of essential commodities have been affected due to the curfew and blockade called by All Rabha Students Union.
But now the supply lines have been more or less normalised and communication restored," Lyndoh said.

AASU flays lax security, GSU cautions against militants

Shillong, January 9 (PTI): The All Assam Students Union today flayed the Assam Government for "failing to provide security to the people" in the ethnic violence hit Assam-Meghalaya border, while the Garo Students Union appealed to people not to shelter militants who have "fuelled" the clash. "It seems as if there is no administration in Goalpara.
The government has failed to provide security to the people who have been bearing the brunt of the violence since the last ten days. We denounce the government," AASU president Shankar Prasad Rai, who along with his colleagues visited Goalpara, told PTI over phone. He said the organisation has written a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding adequate security, proper relief and rehabilitation to the affected people. Rai said the 30,000 affected people were reeling in the relief camps due to lack of provisions.
Alleging that the administration in Goalpara was a mute spectator of the violence, Rai also slammed Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for not visiting the area even after nine days of violence. On the other hand, the GSU has appealed to the people of Meghalaya not to shelter ULFA and Rabha militants who have "fuelled the current ethnic violence."
In a statement, GSU general secretary Rondon K Momin said "police in Assam neglected their duties while miscreants went on rampage and burnt down houses of innocent villagers." The GSU appealed to the Assam Government to provide full security to the Garos living in Assam "because Meghalaya Government has given full security to the Rabhas living in the state."
Condemning the attack on Union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha K Sangma and former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma and Opposition Leader Conrad Sangma by an irate mob in Goalpara, GSU said, "If Assam Government cannot protect the lives of the important people how can they protect the common man living in Assam."

Army stages flag march after fresh arson

Goalpara, January 9 (PTI):
The army staged flag march along the ethnic violence-hit Assam-Meghalaya border after fresh incidents of arson were reported despite curfew on both the sides.
Several houses were set ablaze in the Kukurkata area of Assam's Goalpara district and clashes between Rabha and Garo were reported at Hatigaon area of East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya last night, official sources said.
The army staged flag march in the two districts along the interstate state border as a confidence building measure and to prevent violence. The indefinite curfew clamped since Wednesday in Dhupdhora, Dudhnoi, Ranjuli and Krishnai police stations in Goalpara was relaxed from 7 am to 4 pm today by the district administration.