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India Evicts Tribe From Southern Forest

Police in southern India have evicted hundreds of tribal people from a wildlife sanctuary they claim as their ancestral land following a bloody clash to free hostages, authorities said Friday. About 1,250 tribal people, including children, were evicted Thursday from the Muthanga Forest in the southern Indian state of Kerala, 280 miles north of the state capital Trivandrum. Police arrested at least 287 tribesmen. The tribe was first evicted in August 2001, but families moved back on Jan. 1, claiming they were not given adequate alternative housing. The hostage incident started Monday when forest guards and neighboring villagers entered the sanctuary to put out a fire. The tribe believed it was going to be evicted and took 18 guards and officials hostage. Police entered the sanctuary to free the hostages. After negotiations failed, they fired guns at the tribesmen, who answered with arrows. Four tribesmen were shot dead, and a policeman died after his leg was slashed by a sickle. The hostages were released Wednesday night. Full Story

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