India: tribal peoples displaced in Assam clashes

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is calling on India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into the ethnic violence that left 55 dead and more than 200,000 displaced in his state over the past week. “The culprits involved in the clashes must be identified and punished,” he said. The clashes, centered around Udalguri district, were between the Bodo tribal people and Bangladeshi settlers, who fought with guns, bows and arrows, machetes and spears. But at least 24 of the dead were shot by police who fired into the crowds.

More than 2,500 houses were torched or damaged in the clashes in 54 villages, Gogoi said, leaving residents in makeshift camps hurriedly prepared by state authorities. The chief minister accused national leaders of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of exploiting the situation in Assam. “It was unfortunate to find provocative statements by leaders like L.K. Advani about the Assam government allowing Muslims to kill tribal people. Such remarks only make the situation bad,” Gogoi said. (Times of India, Oct. 11; Reuters, Oct. 6)

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