Tag Archives: National

NE tribals clash for religious reasons

Religious conflicts erupted between the Rabhas and Garos Christians along the Assam-Meghalaya border. On 5th January, trouble started with four people dead and thousands are displaced. On 30th October, a temple in Williamnagar was allegedly attacked by Garos while protesting against civic polls in the Garo Hills. Prior to this, the Garos complained that Rabhas blockades restricted their movement on NH-37, the only link that connects NH-40 leading to Shillong. Rabhas were blocking National Highway 37 in Assam to press their demand for autonomy under the Sixth Schedule. This is also said to have prevented many Garo students in Shillong from reaching home in time for Christmas. On 22 December, a Garo pastor and his family was attacked while they were travelling on NH-37 during a bandh and it was alleged to be an act of Rabha youth. The Army is reported to have moved into the affected areas.

Over 34,000 people, both Garo and Rabha tribals, have left their homes and taken shelter in relief camps. A number of these people have no houses to go back to, while those who do have homes have fled for fear of being attacked. More than 7 people are killed in the clashes. At least 103 people have been arrested and 25 cases of attempted arson and rioting have been registered in the ethnic-violence-hit areas in Meghalaya

Since the time Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam, the inter-state border issues combined with various social factors including active proselytization of Christian missionaries are creating simmering tensions in the region and sometimes lead to death and destruction.