At least 2,500 people have been killed in the north eastern province of Assam after a series of massacres were triggered off by elections to the state assembly.
February 25: Assam (Prakash)
GVs Bodies of some of those killed are burnt. (5 SHOTS)
SV Sign saying: "Relief Camp" ZOOM OUT. Refugees in tented camp. (3 SHOTS)
GV Aid workers hand out blankets and supplies from a truck from the Marwari Relief Society to refugees. (2 SHOTS)
CUs Refugees wait for supplies. (2 SHOTS)
February 24: Assam
GV PAN Refugees mill about in camp in Goreshwar College grounds. (7 SHOTS)
GVs Remains of burnt houses in village of Gohaingaon. (3 SHOTS)
February 25: New Delhi (Jagdish)
SV Mrs Indira Gandhi speaks. (SOT)
February 25: Assam (Prakash)
SVs Men of the Central Reserve Police patrol in the deserted village of Dhula. (2 SHOTS)
TRANSCRIPT: GANDHI: (SEQ 7)"It's a matter of great sorrow and agony that lives have been lost and people have suffered. But it is really the outcome of the atmosphere of bitterness and hatred which has been built since the end of 1979 and that was something which was escalating whether we had the elections or not. I don't think that was something that was coming down."
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Background: At least 2,500 people have been killed in the north eastern province of Assam after a series of massacres were triggered off by elections to the state assembly. Militant students and Assamese tribesmen butchered the mainly Moslem immigrants from Bangladesh in protest at their inclusion on the electoral roll. One of the hardest hit areas was Mongoldoi, February 25. The massacres have created a large scale refugee problem and an estimated 100,000 people are now living in camps like the one in Goreshwar College grounds. Tents provided the only shelter and conditions are basic. Cooking and cleaning was done on open fires in the camp and other supplies were distributed by relief workers. Each refugee was given a daily ration of rice. In addition to the killings, thousands of homes have been destroyed. The village of Gohaingaon, with its 200 huts and a temple, was virtually razed to the ground. All that remained were scorched pots and pans and a few smouldering embers. Thousands of the estimated 3.5 million Moslems in the area have fled to the neighbouring states of West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. The Red Cross started a relief operation, but communications were made difficult because of three days of heavy rain, and the government said that building materials would be provided to enable the refugees to begin afresh. The state elections were a virtual landslide for the ruling Congress (I) Party, which took 65 of the 74 seats, but thousands of voters boycotted the poll in protest at the presence of the Moslem immigrants. At a news conference in New Delhi on February 25, Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi expressed her sorrow and regret that so many people had died. She blamed the massacres on an atmosphere of violence and bitterness, and said they would have occurred whether or not the elections had been held. In an effort to convince the local population that law and order had returned, police forces were drafted into the area, and members of the Central Reserve patrolled in towns and villages deserted by their re