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11 Muslims killed in sectarian attacks in India's Assam

Bishkek (AKIpress) - Suspected tribal rebels in India shot dead 11 Muslims, including two women, in attacks in the northeastern tea-growing state of Assam where tension has run high during an election, officials said on Friday.

Police said they suspected the militants behind the overnight killings were members of the Bodo tribe, Reuters reports.

"The gunmen entered the house and shot them dead on the spot," a senior police officer in the state capital, Guwahati, with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

He was referring to an incident in which the militants shot dead three members of a family, including two women, while wounding a baby. In a second attack, eight people were killed by a group of guerrillas.

Bodo people have frequently clashed with Muslims they say have illegally entered from neighboring Bangladesh and encroached on their ancestral lands near the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Candidates in India's general election, including opposition front runner Narendra Modi, have contributed to anti-Bangladeshi feeling in Assam.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, last week said immigrants from Bangladesh in a nearby state should have their "bags packed" in case he came to power. He accuses the state government of being soft on immigration.

Voting was held over several days in Assam to help security forces handle any violence from several separatist and tribal militant groups active in the state. Polling in the Bodo region ended on April 24, in what residents say was a tight race between a Bodo and a non-tribal candidate.

Election results are due on May 16.


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