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Central & South Asia
Clashes over land erupt in India's northeast
Army sent to halt deadly dispute between Bengali settlers and local Bodo villagers that killed at least 11.
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2012 10:14

India's army has moved in to stop armed clashes between settlers and local villagers that have killed at least 11 people in the northeastern state of Assam over the past two days.

Land disputes between the ethnic Bodo community and Bengali Muslim settlers led to the clashes in Kokrajhar district, nearly 250km west of Gauhati, the capital, SN Singh, an inspector-general of the state police, said on Sunday.

The clashes 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.

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

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.

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