Govt. to set up joint control rooms in violence-hit northeastern states

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Goalpara (Assam), Jan 11 (ANI): In a desperate move to curb incidents of violence, the government has decided to set up joint control rooms in Assam and Meghalaya, which have witnessed major ethnic clashes in the past few days.

The decision was made after the inspection of Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh, who is in charge of the northeast.

After a meeting of law enforcement bodies from both the states, Singh told reporters on Tuesday that the decision would help in controlling the situation and bring back normalcy in the strife torn region.

"Both sides of the border will be secured. We have made arrangements for having a joint control room of Assam and Meghalaya police. They will be coordinating each other's actions, and the deployment, etc. The details will be known to each other and they will be helping each other out," he said.

The ongoing ethnic clash between the Rabha and Garo tribal communities on the Assam-Meghalaya border led to the killing of nine persons on Sunday.

Following this, both states rushed in more forces, while the army has also sent in forces to help the civil administration control the situation.

Singh revealed the ethnic clashes were planned and not spontaneous in nature.

"I won't be able to name anybody but given the kind of movement which has taken place, given the way the security forces have been attacked, and given the way a kind of simultaneous movement has happened, it is a well organized move," he said.

According to media reports, miscreants in the trouble-torn Gendabari, Baralibari, and Mandipathar regions located on the border of both the states have burnt down houses.

Scores of locals have now moved to relief camps in safer areas.

Singh warned that some groups might be using violence for their own benefits.

"Things have been complicated for the last so many years. The Rabhas are demanding a council in Assam and also wanting to have a majority there and that has led to various other things, including strikes and shutdowns, frustrating the people in general. That could be said to be one of the reasons," said Singh.

"This frustration seems to have been exploited by a group of people who seem to be using this case and opportunity for their own benefits," he added.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people are taking refuge at the Goalpara camp, which is providing shelter and food to those displaced due to the violence.

Sukharam K. Sangma, a member of the municipal district council told reporters that local schools are being converted into relief camps to house the displaced people.

"Actually, for the accommodation we are arranging from almost every schools, whatever space we are getting. The facilities mean rice, all other essentials things are given by the government, and volunteers and communities are formed to supervise all these things," he said.

The area has been witnessing tension and clashes since past five days between Garos and Rabhas after Garos attacked Rabha villages, allegedly in retaliation of an attack on the former. (ANI)

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