Joint meet moots army patrolling on border areas

Shillong, Feb 16 (PTI) A high-level meeting betweenAssam and Meghalaya today reviewed the current situation inthe ethnic-violence hit border areas and contemplated ropingin the army for joint patrolling in the areas on a "long-termbasis".

The chief secretary-DGP level meeting held in Guwahatidiscussed various confidence building measures, especiallywith reference to repatriate those displaced people who havenot yet returned to their respective states, an officialsource told PTI.

"As a confidence building measure, both sides were ofthe view that a joint patrolling, inclusive of army personnel,should be undertaken on a long term basis on the affectedareas in Assam and Meghalaya. Discussions will be held witharmy authorities in this regard," the official said.

Both sides also agreed to provide text-books to theviolence affected children who would be facing the board examsin March.

Joint visits, comprising administration officials,public representatives and community leaders, would beconducted to Goalpara in Assam where there are some 9,500displaced people still sheltered in the relief camps and arereluctant to come back to their villages in Meghalaya.

Currently about 1300 refugees are still sheltered inthe six relief camps of Meghalaya, while on Assam side thereare some 9,500 refugees displaced in the ethnic riots lastmonth. About 6,500 in the camps of Assam are those who havefled from Meghalaya in the wake of violence.

There are reports that unscrupulous elements wereinstigating the refugees in Assam, prompting them not toreturn � an issue that was taken up during today''s meeting.

The meeting also mooted coverage of the affectedthrough rural development and urban housing schemes, besidesother livelihood programmes, the official said.

Both sides also decided to take steps for damageassessment and the demand from the refugees for provision ofone year free ration.

Twelve people were killed, thousands of houses torchedand some 50,000 people displaced in the riots of Meghalaya''sEast Garo Hills and neighbouring Assam''s Goalpara districtbetween January 1 and 9.

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