Thousands Flee Ethnic Clashes in India’s Northeast

Posted July 26th, 2012 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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Thousands of people are pouring into relief camps in northeastern India, where ethnic clashes have killed at least 41 people in the last week.

Security forces continue to patrol the worst violence-hit areas of Assam state, where members of the Bodo tribe and Muslim settlers have been fighting for several days.

Troops have “shoot-on-sight” orders and a curfew is in place to quell further rioting. The unrest near the Bhutanese border erupted last week after a series of attacks involving Bodos and Bengali Muslim settlers inflamed longtime tensions between the two groups.

Authorities say some 200,000 people have fled the violence. Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi visited affected areas on Thursday. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also due in Assam on Saturday.

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