Indian troops deployed to quell ethnic violence in Assam


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Thousands of troops marched through the north-eastern state of Assam yesterday to quell ethnic violence that has killed at least 38 people. But roving bands of rioters continued sporadic attacks, ripping apart homes and setting them alight.

Nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes in western Assam, crowding into government camps for protection from violence that erupted late last week. One woman in early labour was taken by her husband in a pushcart to a camp, where she gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday. Later, she learned her home had been burned down. "I am just happy my baby is OK," 25-year-old Ela Brahma said yesterday in the camp where about 1,000 people were sheltering.

Police said they had discovered dozens of bodies hacked with machetes since the violence broke out in Kokrajhar.

The clashes pit members of the ethnic Bodo community against Muslim settlers who mostly came from the former East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh in 1971.