New violence in Assam 'kills 12'

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6941598.stm

Aug 11, 2007

At least 12 Hindi-speaking people have been killed by separatist militants in India's north-eastern state of Assam, police say.

The outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and two other tribal militias are suspected of carrying out the attacks, they say

The latest deaths bring to at least 23 the number of people killed in rebel attacks in Assam in the past six days.

Nineteen of the dead belonged to the Hindi-speaking community.

Nearly 70 more people were injured in the attacks. The security forces also gunned down two ULFA militants.

Independence Day threat

The latest attacks occurred in the Karbi Anglong district just before midnight on Friday, according to senior police officer S K Gogoi.

He said a group of militants had stormed into a remote hamlet and shot dead 11 people from two Hindi-speaking families.

The militants also hurled a grenade at a shop in the same district, killing a two-year-old child.

Nine others, including two policemen, were injured in yet another bomb blast in the district's main town, Diphu.

Police say the local tribal militia Karbi Longpi North Cacher Liberation Front (KLNLF) might have been helping the ULFA carry out the strikes.

The militants killed eight Hindi-speaking people at Ampahar in the same area on Wednesday.

Three more were killed and more than 50 injured in a string of blasts across the state since last Sunday.

Police say militants have stepped up offensives to stop people taking part in celebrations marking India's 61st Independence Day on 15 August.

The ULFA and other rebel organisations have urged people in north-eastern India to boycott the event. They also called for a general strike across the region on the day.

Deadlock

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the security forces had been put on alert.

He said the state government was ready to start a peace process with the ULFA.

The group has been pursuing an armed rebellion against what it terms "colonial rule" by Delhi since 1979.

An effort to start peace talks between the rebels and the Indian government fell through last year.

The militants killed nearly 70 Hindi-speaking migrants across the state last January. It has since been on the offensive.

The rebel group say the Hindi-speaking migrants and settlers from India's heartland States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are threatening the indigenous people of Assam.

The KLNLF and KRA have also been fighting for a homeland for tribal Karbis living in the two hill districts of Assam - Karbi Anglong and North Cacher.