Shillong, Jan 5 (IANS): Authorities today relaxed for three hours the curfew in Mendipathar in Meghalaya's East Garo district that witnessed ethnic violence, an official said.
Curfew was imposed in Mendipathar and adjoining areas bordering Assam's Goalpara district on Monday night after clashes between the Garo and Rabha tribals.
The relaxation began at 2 pm, district Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi told IANS.
The Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday staged a flag march in the troubled areas while the army is on standby.
Meanwhile, officials and civil society groups, including the powerful Garo Students' Union, met Goalpara district officials and the All Rabha Students' Union to try to settle tribal differences.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who visited the affected area, has appealed to the warring tribes to maintain peace. "I have assessed the law-and-order situation and instructed the district authorities to restore normalcy and maintain a strict vigil to ensure that there is no scope of escalation (of violence)," Sangma told IANS.
More than 2,000 Rabha families have been displaced after more than 200 houses were allegedly torched by Garo tribals in retaliation for recent attacks on Garos by Rabha youths, police said.
Curfew was clamped in Mendipathar, Salpara, Adokgre, Horinkata, Bajengdoba, Nolbari and Manikganj areas since last night after several cases of arson and burning of over 50 houses.
Meghalaya Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh said the state government is in touch with Assam to control the situation.
In a related development, the All Rabha Students' Union called for a 500-hour economic blockade against Meghalaya, protesting harassment by �miscreants�.