Violence Flares in Northeast India

Posted August 28th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Security forces are patrolling the streets of Assam, after violence again flared in the northeastern Indian state.

Authorities say at least one person was killed and five others wounded after gunmen opened fire late Monday in the state's Kokrajhar district.

The army joined paramilitary and police forces in trying to enforce a curfew and curb possible rioting.

At least 80 people have been killed and 300,000 displaced since July, when clashes broke out between Assam's indigenous Bodo community and Muslim settlers.

Tensions continue to simmer and have spread throughout India. Earlier this month, thousands of migrants from Assam fled major cities and returned home following Internet rumors of reprisal attacks by Muslims.

Federal and state leaders have appealed for calm. On Tuesday, Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi urged local political parties to call off general strikes in the state and minimize rhetoric. He told reporters in the state capital Guwahati, “this is not conducive for bringing in stability. So I appeal to everybody in this critical hour, one should refrain from making provocative speech.”

Animosity and accusations of land-stealing have long simmered in Assam 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.