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Interfaith group helps victims of Assam clashes

Seeks permission to establish relief camps for those made homeless

Interfaith group helps victims of Assam clashes
Displaced Kuki tribal victims of the ethnic clashes outside a camp in Assam, India
Kent Thomson, Kohima
India

January 7, 2011

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An interfaith group today sought permission to set up relief camps for victims left homeless after recent ethnic clashes in Assam, northeastern India. Violence flared on Jan. 1 when several ethnic Rabha youths attacked a Garo tribal wedding party and a Garo pastor. In retaliation, Garo people went on the rampage, torching hundreds of Rabha houses on the Assam-Meghalaya border. They also killed three Rabha people and wounded five others traveling on a bus. One of the injured later died of his injuries. One Garo was also killed in a clash with police. The joint peace mission team met district officials in the border area to ask for permission to set up relief camps and to offer aid to the victims. Father S. Santiago, director of the North East Diocesan Social Forum and member of the peace team, told ucanews.com that land and border disputes led to the clashes. The Garo are found mostly in Meghalaya state, while the Rabha are concentrated in Assam. Amrit Kumar Goldsmith, another member of the peace team, said the group condemned “all kinds of violence and were appealing for peace.” The Garo Baptist Convention and other Church groups plan to meet leaders of the two sides to broker peace and an amicable settlement to the dispute. Meanwhile, the authorities have sought army help as sporadic violence continues.   Related reports Church Distributes Aid, Works For Peace Among Clashing Groups Refugees From Decade-Old Ethnic Clashes Continue Living In Relief Camps   IE12751.1635
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