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Strike Hits India's Troubled Northeast - 2004-10-05

India's troubled northeastern states have been hit by a day-long general strike called to protest a wave of rebel-linked violence that has claimed at least 63 lives since Saturday.

Schools, shops and businesses were closed Tuesday in large parts of the region's seven states (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Maghalaya).

The strike was called by a regional student group (the Northeastern Student Organization), which blames New Delhi for neglecting the area.

Monday, India's Home Minister Shivraj Patil toured the troubled area and told reporters that the government will hunt down those responsible for violent attacks. But he also said New Delhi has not closed the doors on talks with rebel groups.

Dozens of rebel groups are active in the region. Their demands range from greater tribal autonomy to outright independence