India strife sends many starving

Some 500 tribal people have been found starving and thousands are threatened with the same fate after fleeing to jungle hideouts after last week's massacre in India's Tripura State, the Times of India reported Tuesday.

Thousands escaped to the forests during fighting between tribesmen and immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, in which officials said 400 people were killed. Indian journalists reporting from the northeast state said the full toll would be nearly 1,000.

The chief minister, Nripen Chakraborty, said in the state capital, Agartala, he had appealed to the central government to drop rice to the tribespeople from planes.

The Times said the government was trying to win back their confidence, badly shaken by the violence. Tribal people form 30 percent of the state's 1.5 million population. Immigrants from Bangladesh form the majority.

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