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Gogoi assures Rio on safety

Jorhat, Dec. 31: Nagaland today sought protection of Rengma Nagas living in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio made this plea to his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi at a 45-minute meeting held at the circuit house here this evening.

Assam home secretary Mukti Gogoi said Nagaland had sought protection and Assam has promised all possible steps to restore normality.

“They (Nagaland) were happy with the steps taken by us. Our chief minister had said that there will be no compromise on the law and order front in the affected area,” Mukti Gogoi said.

Rio had earlier written to Gogoi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing anguish over violence in Karbi Anglong and seeking their immediate intervention.

Assam parliamentary secretary Atuwa Munda after a stock-taking visit yesterday, said nearly 1,500 people from both the Karbi and Rengma communities are in relief camps.

Six persons belonging to the Rengma Naga community have been killed and several houses torched reportedly by Karbi rebels since Friday in areas falling under Bokajan subdivision of the district.

There was no fresh incident of violence in the district today.

Rio’s meeting with Gogoi comes a day after Rengma Nagas staged a rally in Dimapur to protest against the alleged atrocities against members of the community in Assam.

The protesters had urged both state governments to protect the lives and property of Rengma Nagas, provide them adequate security and end the atrocities that led to their exodus. Rio was accompanied by two cabinet ministers, Imkong L. Imchen and Kuzholuzo Neinu, along with deputy Speaker Levi Rengma and four parliamentary secretaries.

Gogoi assured Rio and members of his delegation that the Assam government had “swiftly” reacted to the situation. Stating that the government is committed to providing protection to all tribes and communities, Gogoi told Rio that both the governments should strive to enhance bilateral rations between the two states. Gogoi said curfew was imposed and relief camps opened for Rengmas and Karbis and people were gradually returning to their villages.