Bangladesh tribal people flock to Indian border for refuge

Aug. 4, 2013 at 7:41 PM

AGARTALA, India, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Bangladeshi authorities Sunday convinced about 1,500 tribal people who fled to the Indian border after Bengali settlers torched their villages to return home.

"The tribals entered Indian territory on Saturday evening after ethnic troubles in Bangladesh," the Indo-Asian News Service of New Delhi quoted Border Security Force Deputy Inspector General Bhaskar Rawat as saying in Agartala. "They were stopped at the border by the BSF. We are providing them food and other assistance."

"At least one tribal villager was killed, four tribals were seriously injured and about 500 tribal houses were [burned] to ashes," said Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Center for Human Rights, a rights group in Delhi.

The refugees, mostly Buddhists and Hindus, fled the Chittagong Hill Tracts after strife broke out over the reported abduction of a local leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, The Hindu reported.

Some of the refugees said Bangladesh security forces didn't step in to disperse the rampaging mob, The Hindu reported.

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