Guwahatians take to streets to protect Biharis | india | Hindustan Times
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Guwahatians take to streets to protect Biharis

Locals in violence-hit Assam have joined hands with settlers to stop miscreants from creating tension in the region.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 19:48 IST

Locals in violence-hit Assam have joined hands with settlers to stop miscreants from creating tension in the region.

Residents of Guwahati have formed 24-hour vigil groups and are patrolling the streets along with the police to safeguard the settlers.

At least 57 people, mostly from Bihar, have been killed since last Monday in a violent row triggered by competition for jobs.

Over 11,000 Biharis have taken shelter in refugee camps while trainloads, packed to the rooftop, have left Assam after more than a week of killing and looting which targeted them.

Violence swept parts of the state last week after an attack on Assamese train travellers in Bihar following reports of assaults on Bihari students who came to Assam to take tests for railway jobs.

Assamese students feared the Biharis would grab the prized government jobs in the state.

Officials say that what started as a clash between Assamese and students from Bihar has been hijacked by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) separatists to revive their flagging morale.

Assam is one of the richest states with huge tea estates and oil reserves, but locals complain jobs often go to outsiders.

They also accuse the central Government of exploiting the state's wealth and neglecting its development.

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 00:00 IST