More Deaths In India Despite Arrests

Hindu fundamentalists Ayodhya, India AP

Police detained at least 18,500 Hindu activists across India on Friday to prevent an outbreak of mob violence as Hindu religious leaders scaled down their confrontation with the government over their campaign to build a temple at the site of a destroyed mosque.

It didn't work.

Three men were killed in fresh Hindu-Muslim clashes as mobs set shops on fire and attacked mosques in India's riot-torn Gujarat state in an explosive row over a demolished mosque, police said on Saturday.

Two Muslim men were shot dead overnight in separate incidents when police opened fire to disperse clashing Hindus and Muslims in Dudeshwar and Daryapur areas of Ahmedabad city, police said.

A 20-year-old Hindu man was stabbed to death and his father wounded when they were attacked by unidentified assailants late on Friday as soldiers patrolled the streets and curfew was imposed in three areas, they said.

In Bombay Friday, India's financial center, police said they detained 8,000 people and blocked text messages on cellular phones to thwart rumors and keep troublemakers from gathering.

Police have sealed off the northern town of Ayodhya, the site of the razed mosque, to stop Hindu nationalists from holding a dedication ceremony near the ruins.

In Ahmedabad, Indian authorities Friday slapped a curfew on parts of the city after Hindus and Muslims clashed.

Ahmedabad has borne the brunt of religious unrest which erupted on February 27 when 58 Hindus were killed on a train in western India, triggering reprisals in which some 650 people, mostly Muslims, were burned or hacked to death.

Police commissioner P.C. Pande told Reuters that Hindu crowds burned three or four buses in one area of the city on Friday.

In another part, crowds of Hindus celebrated a prayer ceremony being held in the northern town of Ayodhya - where hardline Hindus want to build a temple on the site of a razed mosque - by letting off crackers.

A crowd of Muslims gathered and both groups started pelting stones at each other. A curfew was imposed and the army sent out to stop the violence.
  • Francie Grace

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