Army troops have enforced a curfew in border districts of India’s northeastern Assam state following violence that has left dozen dead and more than 10,000 people displaced.
Shops and businesses were closed in Golaghat town, where three people were killed after police opened fire to quell protests over attacks by tribespeople from neighbouring Nagaland state, Assam’s Home Secretary GD Tripathy said on Thursday.
Tripathy said the Naga tribespeople had killed nine Assamese villagers last week in a flare-up of a long-running dispute over poorly defined state borders.
More than 10,000 people living on the Assam side of the border have fled their homes and are living in relief camps, he said.
A federal government note said the violence began with a land dispute between two men, an Assamese and a Naga, further fanned by politicians and social activists with rebels joining in, the NDTV reported.
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The channel said the killings allegedly by the Naga rebels triggered protests between 4,000-strong locals – carrying spears, bows and arrows – and the police.
Police opened fire several times to disperse the mob on Tuesday and Wednesday, killing three protesters and injuring at least 14 others.
The deaths sparked public outrage, prompting authorities to call out the army and impose a curfew in Golaghat and nearby areas.
More than 1,000 vehicles, bound for northeastern Manipur province, passing through Nagaland were stranded at the national highway due to an indefinite blockade.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought a report on the violence from the chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland.
Meanwhile, junior interior minister, Kiren Rijiju, met chief ministers of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, and Nagaland, TR Zeliand, on Thursday to find solution to the flaring chaos.
Parts of the border between Assam and Nagaland states have been disputed for more than three decades. The matter is awaiting a decision from India’s Supreme Court.
The dispute has led to several bouts of violence in the past in which at least 100 people have been killed.