Shoot at sight orders were issued on Saturday in Assam's curfew bound district of Udalguri, where seven people were killed and more than 50 injured in clashes between two communities even as a cluster of villages were set ablaze, officials said.
"We have asked police, paramilitary and army soldiers to shoot anybody found indulging in violent activities," Inspector General of Assam Police (Law and Order) Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta told IANS.
Violence broke out on Friday between two communities in Rowta in Udalguri district, about 100 km north of Assam's main city Guwahati.
"The situation is tense with the violence spreading to new areas in the district even as five more bodies were recovered, all of them shot at with poison-tipped arrows and hit with crude sharp implements," a police official said, requesting anonymity.
More than 50 people were wounded, some with bullets.
"More than 200 houses were set ablaze in about six villages," the official said.
Thousands of villagers have fled their homes and are now sheltering in makeshift relief camps set up the police.
"There are an estimated 4,000 people of various ethnic communities sheltered in camps. These people had fled fearing attacks or belonged to villages where miscreants had torched their homes," the official said.
The immediate provocation for the clashes was the attack on a group of Village Defence Party (VDP) volunteers early Friday by armed miscreants.
"The VDP members belonged to the tribal Bodo community and were attacked by members of a religious minority group and that sparked off the clashes," the official said.
In August, the area witnessed similar clashes between two communities in which about 10 people were killed and several injured.