Shillong, Jan 11 (Agencies): The Assam and Meghalaya governments on Tuesday decided to conduct joint patrolling in the ethnic violence-hit areas along their borders and exchange
information in a bid to restore peace.

The additional director generals of police of the two states have been asked to chalk out the exercise, Meghalaya DGP S B Kakati said after a meeting of top police and government officials of both states at Guwahati in the presence of a Union Home Ministry team led by its Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh.

"The discussion was focussed on joint efforts to restore normalcy," Kakati who also visited the violence-hit Mendipathar in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills, said over phone.

The meeting also proposed joint visits by officials to the affected areas and efforts to ensure that the inmates of relief camps were rehabilitated, he said, adding steps to restore normal inter-state movement of vehicles were also discussed.

A joint police control room was set up at Mendipathar police station for speedy exchange of information and verification of rumours and two commandant-level officers of both states have been given charge of it, Kakati said.

In Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma announced ex gratia of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of victims who died in the clash.

"We are ensuring visible presence of security forces. The situation has been brought under control. Attempts to defy the curfew and indulge in violence have been thwarted," Sangma said, adding social activists and members of civil society have been engaged in the relief  operations.

More senior officers have been engaged in the affected areas and more and more displaced people were coming from Assam to relief camps set up in Meghalaya, he said.

At least nine people have been killed and around 50,000 displaced in the ethnic violence that began on January 1. Altogether 103 people have been arrested and 25 cases of attempted arson and rioting registered so far in Meghalaya, where 26 villages have been affected and about 1500 houses burnt, Kakati said.

A decision to relax curfew in violence-hit Resubelpara sub-division of Meghalaya was recalled after fresh incidents of confrontation between two groups this morning.