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30,000 people displaced in Garo-Rabha clash
Raju Das
 SHILLONG, Jan 7 – The governments of Meghalaya and Assam are staring at a major humanitarian crisis with over 30,000 people displaced from their homes so far due to outbreak of ethnic clash between Garos and Rabhas.

Both the State Governments are setting up relief camps to accommodate the sea of displaced people in East Garo Hills and Goalpara districts of Meghalaya and Assam respectively.

In East Garo Hills, ten relief camps have been set up so far. “We have at least 5400 displaced people in these camps from both Rabha and Garo communities in the last count and it has been reported that another 30,000 are in various camps of Assam,” Meghalaya Chief Secretary, WMS Pariat told reporters here today.

The Centre has also rushed in five companies of paramilitary troops in the trouble-torn areas. Another five companies is expected anytime to take stock of the law and order situation.

“The situation is yet to improve, but under control and no fresh incidences of violence were reported today,” Pariat said. East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said there were no reports of violence reported in East Garo Hills. “However, the border with Assam is tense with lots of rumours doing the rounds and people are naturally perturbed,” Bakshi added.

The district administration in East Garo Hills, meanwhile, is struggling to provide basic amenities to the inmates of the camps and with the winter chill apprehension of people falling sick is looming large.

“The supplies are drying up in the all the three districts of Garo Hills as the curfew and blockade by various groups on the main supply route is hampering delivery of essential commodities,” he added. Director General of Civil Defense and Home Guards WR Marbaniang said 20-25 of his men are deployed in the strife-torn areas providing help to the displaced people. “We are in-charge of one of the relief camps in Garo Hills,” Marbaniang said.

However, the Meghalaya government is trying to get essential commodities and petroleum with the help of security forces, he said. Meghalaya Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh visited the affected people in relief camps of East Garo Hills. He also held meetings with various political and Church leaders of the area and took stock of the situation.

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