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Assam sees renewed violence

Killing of two laborers and strikes fuel unrest as hopes of end to curfews prove premature

Many homes have been burned to the ground in western Assam (Photo by Lissy Maruthanakuzhy) Many homes have been burned to the ground in western Assam (Photo by Lissy Maruthanakuzhy)
  • Bijay Kumar Minj, New Delhi
  • India
  • August 23, 2012
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Two more people were killed in the restive province of Assam today as a student group said it would launch nationwide strikes protesting the arrest of a legislative assembly member in connection with recent violence.

Amid an upsurge in unrest, unidentified assailants fired on a group of Muslims killing two laborers and wounding another Wednesday night in Dhubri district, said reports citing police, bringing the overall death toll to 81 since clashes between local Bodo tribespeople and Muslims began in mid-July.

The attack took place after authorities relaxed a curfew following what had been an improvement in security.

“Things are quite tense here since a shoot-on-sight policy is still continuing in some places,” said Father Thomas D’Silva, a spokesman for the Bonggaigon diocese.

The renewed violence occurred just before the arrest of Assam assembly representative Pradeep Brahma in the early hours of the morning over his alleged involvement in recent violence, D’Silva added.

Brahma is a representative of the Bodoland Peoples’ Front, the ruling party in Assam’s semi-autonomous western region.

In response to his detention, the All Assam Students Union called a day-long strike as they picketed railway tracks and a national highway.

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