India deploys soldiers in Assam after Muslim slaying

India deploys soldiers in Assam after Muslim slaying
Sun May 4, 2014 09:40:07

India has deployed troops in the state of Assam after tribal militants killed 32 Muslims in three days of attacks.

Police officers were stationed on Saturday to bring an end to the unrest in the northeastern state.

Earlier in the day, security forces found the bodies of nine Muslims with bullet wounds, six of them women and children.

A wave of violence broke out on Thursday when tribal rebels killed 11 Bengali-speaking Muslim villagers in the Narayanguri village in the Baksa district.

More bloodshed followed on Friday when 12 others were slain.

Rebels from one faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were behind the attacks, police said.

They allegedly attacked Muslims in retaliation for their opposition to the militants’ candidate in India’s parliamentary elections.

The violent attacks have prompted security forces to start a massive search for the assailants.

“So far we have arrested about 22 people,” said a senior police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We are scared to live in our village, unless security is provided by the government," Anwar Islam, a Muslim who lives in a nearby village, said.

Several rebel groups have been fighting the government and sometimes each other for years in India’s seven states in the northeast. They are after more regional autonomy or independent homelands for the indigenous groups they stand for.

The NDFB wants a separate homeland for the region’s ethnic Bodos who account for 10 percent of Assam’s 33 million people.

At least 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have lost their lives in such violence in Assam.

The Assam state government has been criticized and accused of failing to restore law and order to the region.


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