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High alert sounded after recovery of corpses

Shillong, Jan 29 (PTI) A high alert has been soundedin Meghalaya�s East Garo Hills district following the recoveryof three bodies in neighbouring Goalpara district of Assam,believed to be victims of recent ethnic clashes, a seniorofficial said.

East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi saidtoday with the situation turning tense following the recoveryof the three corpses, belonging to one of the communities, theauthorities have decided to keep the paramilitary forces inthe strife-torn Meghalaya-Assam border pockets of the districtfor some more time with vigil stepped up in certain areas.

Ever since the ethnic flare-up between the Rabha andGaro communities in the area on January one, the situation wasgradually getting back to normal since mid-January, officialssaid.

The three decomposed bodies were believed to be ofmembers of a relief team missing during the clashes and dugout from a grave in the area on January 27, the sources inGoalpara said. Four persons were missing after an attack on arelief party during the clashes. While bodies of three,belonging to one of the two local communities, were found,another still remained untraced.

Some 2,500 people displaced in the ten-day clashes arestill sheltered in ten relief camps in the district.

About 8,000 Rabha people of Meghalaya who fled toAssam during the clashes are likely to be repatriated to newrelief camps to be set up in Meghalaya, till theirrehabilitation.

The ethnic violence claimed 12 lives so far. PTI RTJSUSSUS01291359

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