Security forces in northeast India found the bodies of nine Muslims on Saturday, raising the death toll to 31 in a spate of attacks by suspected tribal militants as a weeks-long general election re-opens ethnic divisions.
The election has rekindled the question of religious animosity across India with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looking set to win, but the violence in the tea-growing state of Assam stems from friction over migration.
Police said six of the nine Muslims found shot dead were women and children. Security forces rescued three children found nearby hiding in forests close to the border with Bhutan.
"Shoot-on-sight orders are issued to troops deployed in troubled areas," L. R. Bishnoi, inspector general of Assam's police, told Reuters.