NEW YORK, July 30 (UPI) -- Amid conflict in the northern Indian state of Assam, Human Rights Watch said orders to fire should be given to security forces only when needed to save lives.
Violence among Bodo tribal members and Muslim immigrants in Assam state left roughly 40 people dead and thousands of civilians displaced last week.
The Indian government deployed paramilitary troops to the area with orders to shoot armed militants on sight. Human Rights Watch said it received confirmation that four people were killed by police since the shoot-on-sight order was given last week.
Meenakshi Ganguly, director of South Asian programs at the rights group, said such orders open the door to grave human rights violations.
"Security forces should comply with international standards that only permit the use of lethal force when absolutely necessary to protect life," said Ganguly.
The Times of India last week quoted Assam officials as saying violence had subsided somewhat by the weekend.
"The authorities failed to prevent the violence and should immediately ensure that security forces provide protection to all communities in Assam," said Ganguly in a statement from New York.