11 die in ethnic clashes in Assam

Published Jul 23, 2012 02:21am

GAUHATI (India), July 22: India's army moved in to stop armed clashes over land between settlers and local villagers that have killed at least 11 people in India's remote northeast over the past two days, police said on Sunday.    

Two days of battles between the ethnic Bodo community and Muslim settlers also injured at least 10 people in Kokrajhar district, nearly 250 kilometers west of Gauhati, the state capital, said S.N. Singh, a police inspector-general.

The clashes in Assam state began on Friday after assailants killed one person. As the violence spread to more than half a dozen villages in the region, nearly 7,000 people fled their homes and took refuge in state-run relief camps, Singh said on Sunday.

State authorities called in the army and imposed a night curfew in the region on Saturday to quell violence. No fresh clashes have been reported since Saturday night.

The soldiers have been patrolling the violence-hit region, Singh said.

Animosity and accusations of land-stealing have long simmered between Bodos and the thousands of mostly Bengali Muslim settlers, many of whom came from the former East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh in 1971.

The two groups have clashed sporadically since 1990s and burned each other's homes and property, state officials said.—AFP

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