Indian police shoot dead at least eight from Assam tribe

GUWAHATI Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:59am GMT

1 of 2. Demonstrators from Rabha tribe burn a tyre as they block a road during a protest in at Dorapara in Goalpara district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam February 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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GUWAHATI (Reuters) - Indian police shot at hundreds of tribesmen and women in the north-eastern state of Assam on Tuesday, killing eight people, the state's chief minister said, after violence broke out during village council elections.

Police were called to deal with protests by Rabha tribesmen and women who opposed the elections saying they infringed on tribal law, another senior government official said.

"Eight people have been killed in police firing in Rabha areas of Assam today," Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters in the state capital Guwahati.

A leader of the Rabha tribe said he held the government responsible for the deaths.

Angry tribesmen armed with swords, hatchets, spears and axes marched to polling stations from villages of the western Goalpara district, police officials said.

At least two people were killed by the mobs in the early hours of the day, said Bhupen Bora, a senior official of the state's home department.

(Reporting By Biswajyoti Das, editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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