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6 more bodies found after Indian ethnic violence

May 7, 2014

GAUHATI, India (AP) — Six bodies have been recovered from a river after the worst ethnic violence in India’s remote northeast in two years, raising the death toll to 39, police said Wedesday. Ten people are still missing.

The bodies were found in the Barpeta district of Assam state, according to assistant director general of Assam police A.P. Rout. Two other bodies were found Tuesday.

Barpeta is next to Baksa district, where police said gunmen from the Bodo tribe, which has long accused Muslims of entering India illegally from neighboring Bangladesh, went on a rampage, setting Muslim homes ablaze and firing indiscriminately at civilians.

Rout said 10 people who had been reported missing since the attacks began May 1 were still unaccounted for.

While there has been no fresh violence over the last few days, the area remains under curfew at night with people being asked to remain indoors. Federal investigators are probing the violence, officials said.

Authorities have said the attackers belonged to a faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which has been fighting for a separate homeland for the ethnic Bodo people for decades. The rebel group denies it.

The Bodos are an indigenous tribe in Assam state, making up 10 percent of the state’s 33 million people.

Violence between Bodo people and Muslims in 2012 killed as many as 100 people in the same area as the recent attacks.

Tensions increased after a Bodo lawmaker criticized Muslims for not voting for the Bodo candidate, according to a Muslim youth organization. The final phase of the national election is Monday, with results expected on May 16.

Update hourly