Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 12:15 UK

Assam police open fire on crowd

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Assam map

A Muslim man was killed when police fired at a group of protestors in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam.

They were demonstrating against a movement for autonomy by the Rabha tribes people. Police said 20 others, including six policemen, were injured.

Bengali Muslims are the majority community in some districts of western Assam, bordering Bangladesh.

They say they will be marginalised if the Rabha tribals' demand for an autonomous region is accepted.

The Rabhas want a separate autonomous region for their tribe on the lines of the autonomous council created for the Bodo tribe five years ago.

The tension started when a Rabha man was found dead on Sunday and police then arrested several Muslims.

A huge crowd of Muslims then gathered in front of the police station in Krishnai town in Assam's western district of Goalpara, bordering Bangladesh, late on Sunday.

Police said the crowd turned violent and started pelting them with stones, forcing them to open fire.

One man was killed. Earlier reports said the dead person was a woman.

An indefinite curfew was imposed at Krishnai and is still in force.

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