Violence spikes in northeast India
(AP) / 28 August 2012
GAUHATI, India — Paramilitary and army troops have increased their vigils in India’s riot-hit remote northeast amid renewed ethnic violence, police said on Tuesday.
At least one person was killed and several others injured in Assam state Tuesday and one person was killed and five others wounded in a shooting attack on Monday night, local police said.
State’s police chief J. N. Choudhury told The Associated Press that army troops had been called back to join more than 16,000 paramilitary troops and police officers to patrol the worst-hit areas of Chirang and Kokrajhar “to neutralize armed gangs engaged in attacking people.”
“We are concerned because guns are being used by the rioters,” the police chief said.
The state has been simmering with tension since riots broke out between ethnic Bodos and Muslim settlers in late July. The worst of the violence was controlled within two weeks, but at least 10 people have been killed in fresh fighting in the past week. The violence has killed at least 90 people so far, and 400,000 have found shelter in government relief camps.
It also affected thousands of people from Assam who were living in parts of south and central India but fled home after rumours suggested Muslims were planning retaliatory attacks on them.
Online images of people killed in cyclones and earthquakes had been used to spread fear of revenge attacks, according to the government. It is unclear who was behind the images.
The Bodos and Muslim settlers, who mostly came from the former East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh in 1971, have clashed repeatedly over the years but the recent violence is the worst since the mid-1990s. Most of the fighting is focused on land rights in the area.