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Assam situation improving

76-year-old ailing mother of ULFA chief called for an end to violence in Assam, even as fury against Biharis in the state showed signs of abating.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2003 20:07 IST

Hundreds of soldiers remained on high alert in Assam on Thursday but inter-group clashes that have claimed the lives of 54 Hindi-speaking people from the heartland showed signs of abating.

"There have been no incidents overnight and the overall situation is fast returning to normality," Assam Inspector General of Police Khagen Sharma told IANS.

United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants on Thursday fired a rocket-propelled grenade, targeting a housing complex of labourers at the Raidang tea garden in eastern Assam's Tinsukia district, 525 km from Guwahati.

But no one was injured, Sharma said.

"Security forces across the state are on high alert and we are taking all possible measures to prevent fresh attacks," he added. A majority of the killings since violence broke out in Assam have been blamed on the ULFA.

The ULFA had asked Hindi-speakers to leave the state after Assamese travelling on trains through Bihar came under attack.

Meanwhile, Assamese organizations and relatives of ULFA guerrillas called for an end to the killings and attacks on Hindi speakers.

"We don't want any more violence and bloodshed. Killings must stop," Milika Baruah, 76-year-old mother of ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, was quoted as saying by local newspapers.

Paresh Baruah gave the 'quit' Assam call to the Hindi-speakers and threatened attacks on the community.

The violence was triggered November 15 when Assamese activists prevented candidates from the Hindi-speaking state of Bihar from taking recruitment tests in the state for railway jobs.

Youths in Bihar retaliated by attacking trains to Assam, injuring some 50 people.

"It is time for everyone to show restraint. Enough is enough," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS. "We are dealing with situation with a firm hand and shall not tolerate anyone trying to incite communal passions."

First Published: Nov 27, 2003 11:57 IST