Residents refuse to leave relief camps

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Darrang Oct 28: With fears of more violence lurking, residents living in relief camps after being hit by violence between the immigrant Bangladeshi settlers and the Bodo tribals in Assam, refuse to return to their homes.

Villagers from both communities, armed with bows and arrows, machetes, spears, and guns targeted rivals. More than 50,000 fled their homes and took shelter in makeshift camps set up by police.

The inmates of the camps refuse to return to their villages unless they are provided with security.

"When these incidents had taken place in earlier this month, the situation was very tense. The situation has improved comparatively, but we all living in the relief camps have not been able to muster the courage the go back to our villages," said Prafulla Bodo, a person living in a relief camp.

"My appeal to the government is that these people should be sent to their respected places as soon as possible. They should be provided with proper security because if they keep living in these relief camps, they would have to suffer a lot. And I doubt whether these people can go back to their homes unless security is provided to them," said Zakir Hussain, a resident.

Tribals in the state have often been at loggerheads with the Bangladesh settlers who have occupied vacant lands over the past few decades.

According to police sources, at least 25 people were killed and thousands left homeless in ethnic violence between tribal people and Bangladeshi settlers in Rowta in Assam's Udalguri district, about 100 km from the state capital Dispur around a fortnight ago.

The authorities have called in the army and paramilitary forces to bring the violence under control.


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