Meghalaya minister asks Assam to grant compensation

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Shillong, Oct 12 (UNI) Meghalaya Minister Conrad K Sangma today asked the Assam government to grant compensation to tribal Garos affected by recent clashes between Bodos and immigrant Muslim settlers in Assam's Udalguri and Darrang districts.

Mr Sangma, a tribal Garo himself and scion of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, visited the riot-hit areas of Assam after six tribal Garos and more than 5000 people were displaced following the clashes.

The Garos, having dense population in Udalguri and Darrang under Bodoland Territorial Area District(BTAD), were mistaken as Bodos and killed by the settlers in ''revenge''.

Talking to UNI here over phone from Udalguri, the Meghalaya Finance Minister said, ''Six tribal Garos were confirmed killed during the recent ethnic clash, while more than 60 houses of our tribesmen were razed to the ground in Banderdewaneja and Bhakatpara villages of Udalguri district.'' Claiming that more than 5000 Garos had been displaced, he said, most of them were reluctant to return to their villages fearing that they might again become targets of the Muslim immigrants.

''They told me that they felt insecure and were afraid to return home unless adequate security measures were in place,'' Mr Sangma said.

''How can they go back to their homes when their houses are razed to the ground?'' he asked and appealed to the Assam government to grant compensation to his tribesmen.

Mr Sangma, however, said the district administration had assured him that utmost care would be taken to ensure that the minority tribal groups were not harassed.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya government has sounded an alert in the state following the killing of tribal Garos in the recent clashes in Assam due to the fear of backlash in the state.


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