30 000 flee clashes in northeast India

2012-07-23 16:50
Indian policemen fire teargas in Hyderabad, India. (Mahesh Kumar, AP)

Indian policemen fire teargas in Hyderabad, India. (Mahesh Kumar, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Guwahati - About 30 000 villagers have fled their homes in northeast India amid clashes between Bodo tribal groups and Muslim settlers that have seen 19 people killed so far, police said on Monday.

Soldiers were out in force in the restive state of Assam to try to stop the violence over land rights, in which houses have been set ablaze and villagers forced to shelter in government buildings and schools to avoid the fighting.

"Clashes that broke out on Friday night have so far claimed the lives of 19 people and at least 12 [were] also injured," SN Singh, Assam inspector general of police, told AFP by telephone.

"Police, army and paramilitary troopers have intensified patrols and a curfew has been imposed in many areas," Singh said, adding there were 30 000 people in the government shelters.

Four bodies were recovered by police on Monday from Kokrajhar district, about 220km west of Assam's main city of Guwahati.

The fighting, in regions close to the borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh, is the latest outbreak of violence over long-running territorial disputes.

During the regular bouts of unrest many people from both the Bodo and Muslim communities - particularly women and children - seek safety in designated schools and government offices.

They are protected by soldiers and food is provided.

"We have fled our homes leaving behind everything fearing attack on our lives," Pramila Brahma, a mother of four, told a local television channel at one shelter.

Retaliatory attacks

"We don't know if at all we can go back to our village as they set ablaze most of the houses," added Habibur Rahman, a casual labourer.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said the fighting was triggered when two Muslim student leaders were shot and seriously injured in Kokrajhar, leading to revenge strikes on Bodo groups.

Rockybul Hussain, the Assam state forest minister, told AFP he was in the affected area and that more security personnel were needed to ensure peace before any villagers started to return home.

"We are appealing for calm and asked authorities to take adequate security measures," he said.

Kampa Borgoyary, deputy chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council, a local government organisation, said: "There is some panic and people are moving to safer areas apprehending retaliatory attacks."

Northeast India, a remote part of the huge country, has seen decades of friction between several ethnic and separatist groups, though some of the biggest rebel movements have recently started peace talks with the government.

Read more on:    india  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.