(Re-run with quotes of Home Ministry official)

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Order to relax curfew withdrawn after fresh clash

Shillong, Jan 11 (PTI) A fresh clash between Rabhasand Garos this morning forced the administration to withdrawits order to relax curfew in ethnic violence-hit Resubelparasub-division of Meghalaya.

East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi saidthe administration had decided to relax curfew for three hoursfrom noon, but the prohibitory orders remained following afresh confrontation at Bakrakura in Mendipathar.

He said some Rabha refugees had tried to move to theirvillage at Bakrakura when a Garo group confronted them,leading to a clash.

Police personnel had to rush there to defuse thetension, which prevailed in some pockets due to rumours.

"Unconfirmed reports of incidents on the Assam side werereaching here, resulting in tension on the Meghalaya side,"Bakshi said.

Reports of anti-Rabha posters being put up, were alsocoming from Tura, the district headquarter town ofneighbouring West Garo Hills district.

Meghalaya DGP S B Kakati and Principal Secretary (Home)C D Kynjing reviewed the security situation at a meeting withtheir Assam counterparts in the presence of a Home Ministryteam led by joint secretary Shambhu Singh in Guwahati.

The Union Home Ministry official said efforts would bemade to ensure that the trouble makers don''t succeed in theirnefarious designs. "We will see to it that the nefariousdesigns of people fomenting trouble don''t succeed," Singhsaid.

Describing the attack as "very well-designed", he saidthe clash could not have been spontaneous. "A lot of planningseems to have gone into it," he said.

At least nine people have been killed and around50,000 displaced in the ethnic violence than began on NewYear.

Altogether 103 people have been arrested and 25 casesof attempted arson and rioting registered so far in theethnic-violence-hit areas of Meghalaya, DGP SB Kakati said.

Around 26 villages have been affected in Meghalaya andsome 1500 houses burnt.

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