Hundreds of people in parts of Nagaland are facing shortage of food and medicines after an economic blockade enforced by student groups in the adjoining state of Assam entered the fifth day on Tuesday.
The students prevented trucks from carrying goods to Nagaland, which is dependent on food and medicine supplies through Assam.
Powerful student groups like the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chattra Parishad (AJYCP) enforced the blockade following an attack on an Assam village last week by Nagas. Three people were killed in the ensuing violence while dozens of houses were set ablaze.
"There is scarcity of essentials and medicines in the Mon and Mokokchung districts due to the blockade," a Nagaland government spokesman said.
In the past two days, protestors in Assam attacked two vehicles trying to move to Nagaland. Two Nagaland policemen were assaulted in the attack and a truck carrying food was seized.
In retaliation, locals in Nagaland attacked a truck going to Assam and injured the driver after damaging the vehicle.
"We shall continue with the blockade until the attackers are brought to book," Sarat Hazarika, an AASU leader, said.
Last Thursday, heavily armed Nagas had attacked three villages near Geleki, bordering Nagaland, in eastern Assam's Sivasagar district, about 370 km from the state's main city Guwahati.
The mob killed three people and set ablaze about a dozen houses belonging to local Assamese people, besides triggering a powerful explosion in the area.
"The situation is tense in the border areas. We are maintaining strict vigil to prevent further backlash," a senior police official said.
Police and intelligence officials in Assam said that militants of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) backed the Naga mob.
"It appears the Nagas wanted to usurp the land and so they carried out the attack. Nagaland often claims some parts of Assam as its territory," another senior police official said.