TURA, May 12 – The plain belt region of West Garo Hills district in Meghalaya is slowly limping back to normalcy after a week of high ethnic tensions between Muslims and Garos in which three tribal youth were assaulted and government clamped curfew on Tuesday night.
The administration in Tura lifted the curfew on Friday for ten hours from 6 am to 4 pm, after two days of trouble-free situation. However, night curfew remains in place.
The tensions began to build up after a five-day Garo Hills bandh call given by the Garo outfit GNLA which kept people indoors and shops closed. The traders from Assam and the plain belt region of Garo Hills – Rajabala-Phulbari, refused to open shop even after the end of the bandh which put a lot of strain on the common people who wanted to buy essential commodities.
In the situation three local youth were assaulted by the traders and their supporters and panic soon engulfed the area.
Fearing retaliatory attacks and given the widespread rumours doing the rounds the administration clamped curfew all along the Assam-Meghalaya border in Garo Hills upto three kms. The move was taken to prevent anti-social elements from taking advantage of the situation.
Criminals from the neighbouring State backed by vested interest groups inside Garo Hills reportedly were trying to create communal tension with an eye on next year’s elections.
Criminals attempted to set on fire a wooden bridge at Machangpani on the outskirts of Phulbari town on Thursday during curfew relaxation hours.
The adiminstration has held a series of meetings with church leaders, peace forum members and the district administration in Dhubri, Assam, to try and bring back normalcy.
Some social organisations are believed to be under investigation for allegedly instigating the people against one community. Three social groups having base in Rajabala and Bhaitbari are under watch of the administration following the rise in ethnic tensions.