India

India's north-eastern Naga groups in 'evict Muslims' call

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Media captionHundreds of thousands of Muslims are marking the festival of Eid inside heavily guarded relief camps in Assam

Tribal groups in India's north-eastern Nagaland state have said they will evict Muslim Bangladeshi migrants "illegally settled on our lands".

Tensions have been rising in the north-east following clashes between indigenous Bodos and Muslims in neighbouring Assam state in July.

Thousands of people from the north-east have also fled many Indian cities after threats of revenge attacks by Muslims.

Over the years, the Bengali Muslim population in Nagaland has grown.

'Dire consequences'

"We have nothing against anybody's religion but we cannot tolerate illegal settlers who are encroaching on our land and resources," said Joel Kath of the Naga Council, whose group has said it will identify the "illegal Bangladeshis" and push them out of Nagaland.

Nagaland's Chief Secretary Pu Lalthara warned the Naga Council of "dire consequences" if they took the law into their own hands as it is the government's job to deal with anyone who is in the state illegally.

But the Naga Council has now got support from two other powerful local groups, the Naga Hoho and the Naga Students Federation (NSF).

Correspondents say tension is running high in Dimapur, Nagaland's commercial hub and Muslims who are mostly small traders and wage-earning labourers, are staying indoors fearing assault.

Since mid-July, more than 80 people have died in clashes between Bodo tribespeople and Muslims of Bengali origin in Assam.

More than a half-a-million people have been displaced from their homes and are now living in more than 300 makeshift camps.

The situation in the north-east has been exacerbated when thousands hailing from these states had to flee from Bangalore and other Indian cities in the last two weeks after messages threatening violence against them were circulated through mobile networks and the social media.

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