India massacre: At least 29 Muslim villagers killed in separatist attack in north-east

Army called in to restore order after at least 29 killed in Assam

The army has been brought in to restore order to part of north-east India after at least 29 Muslim villagers were killed in a separatist attack.

A regional police inspector, General LR Bishnoi, said several women and children were among the dead in the state of Assam.

The raid on Friday was the worst outbreak of violence in the troubled region for two years.

Police said gunmen from the Bodo tribe, who accuse Muslims of moving into India illegally from neighbouring Bangladesh, set fire to 40 homes before firing indiscriminately on civilians.

Troops marched through the region on Saturday and a curfew was imposed but heavy rain hampered efforts to track down the rebels, who belong to a faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland.

The group has been fighting for a separate homeland for the ethnic Bodo people for decades.

The indigenous tribe makes up 10 per cent of the state's 33 million people.

The violence came at a time of heightened security during India's general election, with the voting taking place over six weeks.

Tensions have been high since a Bodo politician in India's Parliament criticised Muslims for not voting for the Bodo candidate, said Lafikul Islam Ahmed, leader of a Muslim youth organisation called the All Bodoland Muslim Students' Union.

Local television reports showed hundreds of Muslim villagers fleeing their homes with belongings on carts or in their hands.

Most were headed to Dubri district, which is near the border with Bangladesh. Nearly 400 people are thought to have fled so far.

In 2012, violence lasting for weeks between Bodo people and Muslims killed as many as 100 people in the area.

On Thursday evening in the same district, eight rebels opened fire on a group of villagers sitting in a courtyard, killing four and injuring two.

The second attack happened around midnight in Kokrajhar district when more than 20 armed men broke open the doors of two homes and sprayed them with bullets, killing seven people.

Crying, 28-year-old Mohammed Sheikh Ali said his mother, wife and daughter were killed in the attack.

“I will curse myself forever because I failed to save them,” he said. “I am left all alone in this world...I want justice.”

Dozens of rebel groups have been fighting the government and sometimes each other for years in seven states in north-east India.

They demand greater regional autonomy or independent homelands for the indigenous groups they represent.

At least 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Assam state alone in the last 30 years.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before