Memo to PM blames Christians for Garo-Rabha clash

Published 24 January 2011  |  
A memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed Christians for the recent ethnic clashes that displaced over 50,000 in the Assam-Meghalaya border.

The leaders of Garo-Rabha Peace Council charged that there was a "hidden agenda" of the church and that the nexus between the Meghalaya government and Christian terrorist outfits led to the clashes that began on January 1.

At least 10 people were killed and as many as 300 houses on both sides of the riot-hit areas of Assam's Goalpara and Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district were burnt down in the violence.

The Garo-Rabha Peace Council claimed that the church was "spying" on the communities and was providing logistical support to Christian terrorist outfits.

"A'chik National Volunteer's Council (ANVC) and Garo National Liberation Force (GNLF) are two Christian militant outfits active in Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and Goalpara. Church is providing surveillance help to these outfits," stated the memorandum signed by the general secretary, Jitendra Rabha.

The Church, however, has denied the accusations and said it was an attempt to communalise the situation.

"These are erroneous claims to malign the good name of the Church. There is no nexus between any terrorist group and the government," said a representative of the Garo Baptist Convention that consists of over 2,000 churches.

The Baptist Church earlier was involved in peace efforts and also mobilized relief to temporary camps. More than 70 percent of Meghalaya's inhabitants are Christians.

"Many villages have been torched and people left homeless," reported Wanne Garrey of the Garo Baptist Convention. She said church leaders were "trying their best to calm down the situation", according to Baptist World Alliance.

The Meghalaya government had deployed the army to restore normalcy in the region. An inquiry is currently on to find out if any insurgent outfit was involved in the clashes.

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