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Fresh violence between Buddhist tribals and Muslim settlers

world Updated: Feb 23, 2010 21:04 IST

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Fresh violence between Buddhist tribals and Muslim settlers in Bangladesh's southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts on Tuesday left around 50 people injured, forcing the authorities to deploy the army.

Some 50 houses and shops were gutted and around 50 people injured in fresh clashes after a group of Bengali-speaking settlers obstructed the tribals under the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) from enforcing a blockade in Khagrachhari district headquarters, according to officials and witnesses.

"The authorities have called out the army and banned street gatherings as the violence spread to several parts of the (Khagrachhari) town," a police official said.

A local journalist told PTI over phone that some Bengali-speaking youths disrupted a street demonstration of UPDF as part of its blockade programme, sparking the clash.

At least 50 people were injured, two of them receiving bullet wounds. Among the injured included a senior television journalist.

UPDF was enforcing the blockade as a protest against the violence against Buddhist tribals in Sajek Valley area of the hills where at least two people from the ethnic Chakma tribe were killed and over 200 homes set on fire over land disputes with Bengali settlers last week.

Tribal outfits, including UPDF, claimed that at least 1,500 ethnic tribals in nine villages have been displaced
after Bangali-speaking settlers burnt down their houses on Friday and Saturday.