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Three bodies recovered

Dhubri, Jan. 27: Highly decomposed bodies of three persons belonging to the Rabha community were recovered from a paddy field at Krishnai in Goalpara district today, re-igniting tension on the Assam-Meghalaya border.

Four persons boarded a truck loaded with relief materials and went to Kukurkata Camp via Paikan to distribute them among the camp inmates. While returning, they were attacked by suspected Garos on the night of January 9.

Iswar Rabha, 24, Mohan Rabha, 30, Jayanata Rabha, 18, and Upen Rabha, 26, had been missing since then.

They were residents of Loharghat in Polashbari of Kamrup district.

When contacted, Kamrup (rural) superintendent of police Partha Sarathi Mahanta had confirmed the three bodies to be those of three (of the four) who had gone missing from Paikan.

A police source said Upen was still missing

With the recovery of three bodies, the toll rose to 11 as death of eight persons in Goalpara and East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya had earlier been confirmed.

When contacted, the general secretary of the All Rabha Students’ Union, Jibon Chandra Rabha, condemned the deaths of three persons and said this was very unfortunate that three Rabha persons were killed by the Garo community while returning to Loharghat after distributing relief materials at Kukurkata relief camp.

“We have met Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and demanded Rs 10 lakh for the families of those who had lost their lives, besides proper rehabilitation, compensation and security for all the Rabha people residing in Meghalaya,” Rabha said.

There are still 2,642 camp inmates of the Rabha community and 6,577 camp inmates of the Garo community taking shelter in the 24 relief camps in Goalpara district.

Nearly 42,000 Rabha and Garo people were displaced during the 12-day ethnic clashes but after issuing shoot-at-sight orders and deployment of the army in the trouble-torn and affected areas, the situation started limping back to normal.

An official source claimed that people belonging to the Rabha and the Garo communities were shifted to their respective villages in Goalpara and East Garo Hills districts from the relief camps by the army and CRPF jawans in two weeks.

“The Goalpara district administration is basically providing transportation and security to their life and properties keeping round-the-clock vigil in the affected villages where they were being rehabilitated,” the source added.

A police source said normality was returning to the areas but recovery of bodies would hurt the sentiments of the Rabha people.

He, however, hoped that in the greater interest of peace and amity, people would refrain from violence.

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