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Death toll rises to 38 in Assam violence

  |   July 25, 2012 at 7:58 AM
KOKORAJHAR, India, July 25 (UPI) -- Hundreds of villages have been abandoned in India's northeastern Assam state as residents flee ethnic clashes that have left 38 people dead, officials said.

The Press Trust of India said violence continued Wednesday between Bodo tribal members and Muslim immigrants in the Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts.

The government has deployed paramilitary troops to the area with orders to shoot armed gangs on sight. The army is also making itself highly visible with flag marches in the three districts, as well as in nearby Bongaigaon.

As many as 500 villages have been abandoned as tens of thousands of people take refuge in relief camps. Trains have been unable to reach the area because of security concerns, leaving more than 10,000 people stranded along the route, a North East Frontier Railway spokesman said.

Officials say 25 people have died in Kokrajhar, including four killed Tuesday by police. Thirteen people have been killed in Chirang.

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