Riot victims in Assam yearn for peace

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Koligaon (Assam), Oct 11 : Victims of ethnic violence and living in relief camps in Assam are yearning for peace and normalcy after being forced to flee their homes following clashes between Bodo tribals and Bangladeshi settlers.

There are approximately 160,000 villagers staying in different camps in Darrang and Udalguri districts.

"Earlier, we used to visit each other's villages and used to eat even in the same plate. But both sides are now blaming each other for the violence. This has soared the relations, " said Mohammed Bassaruddin Ahmed, a resident affected by the violence.

With fear prevailing in the makeshift camps about the situation deteriorating further most of the camp inmates want that the Bangladeshi settlers should be moved out of Assam.

The Assamese feel that the Bangladeshi settlers are the root cause of their present condition.

"Bangladeshi's can stay here, but it will be better if they leave. Who wants them to stay here. We are appealing to the government that they should be moved out of Assam so that the peace prevails here," said Mohammed Amir Hussain, another resident.

Death toll has risen to 53 on Friday after the police had recovered six bodies following a week of ethnic violence.

Police said the toll could rise as they reach remote regions and retrieve more bodies. The six recovered overnight were of victims killed in previous clashes which left 85,000 people homeless. Hey are taking shelter in government camps.

Hundreds of police have fanned out to keep the peace and look for bodies of riot victims. By Peter Alex Todd

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