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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 October 2005, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Thousands flee Assam tribal feud
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Guwahati

Peace rally in Guwahati, Assam
Assamese student activists protest against the violence
An estimated 30,000 people have been displaced by clashes between rival tribes in the north-east Indian state of Assam, government officials say.

Some 90 people are said to have died since fighting erupted between the Karbi and Dimasa tribes in September.

Officials fear the clashes - so far confined to Karbi Anglong district - could spread to neighbouring areas.

Feuds are commonplace between militias claiming to represent Assam's tribes in their conflicting homeland demands.

Assam police blame militia groups representing the Karbis and Dimasas for the recent killings and arson attacks on villages.

Most of the dead are elderly, women or children.

Army presence boosted

Survivors who have fled the fighting desperately need "food, medicine, drinking water and physical security," Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre of Human Rights, said.

Map showing Karbi Anglong district in Assam

Their situation has been made worse by rains and the constant threat of further attacks.

Insecurity and indefinite curfews have forced village markets to close down, leading to food shortages in the area.

The dominant factions of both militant groups have signed ceasefire agreements with the Indian government.

Rajiv Aggrawal, joint secretary in charge of the north-east in Indian home ministry, said the groups may have to be disarmed "if necessary".

The army presence has been boosted in Karbi Anglong but reports of sporadic violence continue.





SEE ALSO:
Troop alert after Assam massacre
18 Oct 05 |  South Asia
Army deployed after Assam riots
09 Oct 05 |  South Asia
India ends attack on Assam rebels
27 Sep 05 |  South Asia
Indian troops 'kill Assam rebels'
14 Sep 05 |  South Asia
Assam paralysed by rebel strike
08 Sep 05 |  South Asia


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