The death toll in the clashes between Bodo tribals and Muslim settlers rose to 33 on Sunday, with 18 more people killed, and violence spreading to fresh areas, including a third Assam district, Baska.
Despite the army having been called in on Saturday and curfew clamped across the entire region, armed mobs of both communities continued to roam the village roads of Udalgiri, Darrang and Baska, located along the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 100 km from Guwahati, wreaking death and destruction.
Around 35 villages have been affected and 65,000 people rendered homeless. Local sources said while in Darrang it was mainly Muslim mobs — many of them Bangladeshi settlers — that attacked tribal villages, in Udalgiri it was the other way round. Police and paramilitary forces opened fire in four places to control mobs, killing 12 people.
In Dispur, CM Tarun Gogoi suggested a underground militant group could be responsible for provoking the clashes. “A militant group which is currently under ceasefire may be involved,” he said. Sources said the group could be the National Democratic Front of Bodoland.