More than 50,000 terror-stricken people fled their homes in lower Assam’s Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts as raging ethnic clashes between Bodos and Muslims claimed four more lives on Tuesday.
The violence that started on Friday has left 32 dead so far but state police chief JN Choudhury said it would take “three or four days” to restore order.
Tensions between Bodos and Muslims over control of land and settlements have been simmering for a long time. Clashes broke out Friday night when four Bodo tribals were allegedly hacked to death by residents of a Muslim-dominated village in Kokrajhar.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi to “do everything possible” to control the situation.
The concern was conveyed as the Centre rushed about 15 companies (1,500 personnel) of police forces to the state on Tuesday for deployment in the violence-hit areas, home secretary RK Singh said in Delhi. The Centre had sent 14 companies (1,400 personnel) on Monday.
The violence has spread to 400 villages in the Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts, a report received by the home ministry said.
RK Singh said he was in touch with the state police chief and chief secretary and had also urged local leaders of both communities to help restore peace.
The communal violence left some 25,000 train passengers stranded and the central and Assam governments were on Tuesday urged to provide security so that train services can resume.
A total of 37 trains have been halted at various states due to clashes between Bodo tribals and Bengali speaking Muslims.
Officials said efforts were on to arrange for food and water for the stranded passengers.
Railway minister Mukul Roy made the request for additional security to home minister P Chidambaram and Gogoi, an official statement said.
Roy said the train services had been crippled on a 54-km stretch between Srirampur and Salakati railway stations in Kokrajhar district.
According to the ministry, 26 trains have been cancelled. In addition, 37 have been halted at various stations.
(With IANS inputs)