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Assam govt fails to act as Bodos, Muslims clash

Oct 05, 2008 09:56 PM IST India India

Udalguri: Communal clashes between Bodo tribals and Muslims have erupted in Darrang and Udalguri districts of Assam.

Udalguri is a communally sensitive district that falls under the Bodoland Territorial Council. The rioting that began on Friday spilled over to neighbouring district of Darrang.

Different people have different versions but no one knows clearly what sparked the violence.

"I fail to understand why the government let this happen. I fail to understand the politics. First, Muslim and Bodo fighting. Now Muslim and Assamese fighting," says a riot victim.

In Udalguri, villagers armed with bows and arrows, machetes, spears, country made guns, have been roaming the violence-hit areas to target villages of rival communities. Despite Army staging flag marches and the presence of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) there has been violence and counter-violence between Muslims and Bodos.

"They had surrounded the entire village. They torched Bodo houses. Another mob of 1,500 to 2,000 burnt down houses. We had to resort to firing," Praveen Ghag, Commandant, 9th Battalion, CRPF, says.

Darrang and Udalgiri had witnessed similar violence in August when the Muslim Student's Association tried to enforce a bandh at Rowta in Udalguri to protest harassment of Muslims in the name of detecting foreign nationals.

And ever since the entire area has been on the edge and nearly 10,000 people have been displaced from their villages.

"Where will I go? Me being an Assamese in Assam, I have nowhere to go, no one to help me," an Assamese woman asks.

Villagers from both communities have watched in horror as their houses have been burnt down.

As people with vested interest still try to divide villagers on communal lines there is no doubt, it's an absolute failure on part of the state government to contain the violence.