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HOUSE OF THE WEEK

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Assam Riots Flare Up


A house burns at Kachugaon village in Kokrajhar district, about 230 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of the northeastern state of Assam during violent clashes

NEW DELHI--Communal violence in India's northeastern state of Assam escalated Wednesday, with nine people killed in clashes which have forced tens of thousands of people to flee to government-protected relief camps.
"A dawn-to-dusk curfew has been imposed to control mobs in some areas," said Inspector General of Police S.N. Singh. "People from both communities are setting each other's houses ablaze."Soldiers in full battle gear and armed with shoot-at-sight orders intensified patrolling as fighting between Muslims and a tribal group known as the Bodos continued to spread overnight.
State police chief J.N. Choudhury said the violence began on July 19 after some people killed four young men in Kokrajhar district, an area dominated by the Bodos.
Suspecting that Muslims were responsible for the murders, Bodos armed with guns and knives retaliated, beating up Muslims and setting fire to their houses.
Local media cited a land dispute as one of the reasons behind the clashes. But Mr. Choudhury declined to confirm this.
Tensions over land disputes between the Bodos and Muslim migrants have simmered since the 1990s, flaring up occasionally and resulting in widespread violence.
This time around, the clashes have resulted in almost the entire northeastern part of India being cut off from the rest of the country.
More than 50 trains have been either cancelled or delayed, trucks carrying vital supplies are waiting at Assam's borders, and schools and colleges in the violence-hit districts have been shut.
Most of the fighting is taking place in Assam's Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, which are near India's borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan.
In the mid-1980s, the area was the stage for a bloody guerilla war by the Bodos to carve out a separate state for themselves.
But the violence died down, and many of the former Bodo militants are now part of the political mainstream.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters that he has "no confirmation on involvement of any militant group in the violence so far."
He added that he has asked the security forces to "deal with the miscreants firmly."


Edited By Cen Fox Post Team
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