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Authorities on Monday relaxed curfew in violence-hit Baksa and Kokrajhar and neighbouring Chirang districts of Assam where 33 Muslims were killed since last Thursday in the worst ethnic violence in the state in two years.
With no fresh incident reported so far, the district administrations have relaxed the prohibitory order imposed since Friday night for eight hours from 10am at Baksa, for six hours at Kokrajhar and for seven hours from 10am at Chirang respectively.
Flag march by the army continued to instill confidence among the people even as the security forces are patrolling the affected areas to prevent further outbreak of violence, sources said.
No fresh attacks have been reported since Friday from Baksa and Kokrajhar districts falling under the Bodoland Territorial Areas districts (BTAD), which also includes Chirang and Udalguri districts, the sources said.
Inspector general of police LR Bishnoi claimed a major attack was averted on Sunday with the killing of two NDFB-S militants in an encounter at Baksal village in Udalguri district where they had gone to unleash violence in nearby villages.
Bodies of two women, feared drowned while attempting to flee, were recovered at Durmonighat under Barpeta Road police station on Sunday taking the toll to 34.
On Sunday, police killed three suspected rebels and arrested eight forest guards for alleged involvement in the killings of 33 Muslims in the worst ethnic violence in Assam in two years.
The 22 people arrested earlier face charges of either burning homes or providing shelter to insurgents.
Thousands of people, who fled their homes during the violence, are being provided shelter by the government in relief camps.
Authorities have said the attackers belonged to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which has been fighting for a separate homeland for the ethnic Bodo people for decades. The rebel group denies it.
The Bodos are an indigenous tribe in Assam, making up 10% of the state's 33 million people.
Dozens of rebel groups are active in seven states in northeast. Violence between Bodo people and Muslims in 2012 killed as many as 108 people in the same area as the recent attacks.
Tensions have been high in the region since a Bodo lawmaker 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.
(With PTI inputs)
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