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Fresh India violence 'under control'

Local people cross a police line near the site of  a clash between Hindu activists and the police on Sunday at a train station in Taldi, near Kolkata
Local people cross a police line near the site of a clash between Hindu activists and the police on Sunday at a train station in Taldi, near Kolkata  


From Tom Mintier
CNN Correspondent

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Religious violence has again erupted in India's Gujarat state, leaving two Hindu tribesmen dead after a riot broke out in Vadodara.

Local police officials said that during a demonstration in Vadodara on Sunday involving tribesmen from several villages, the crowd in swelled to more than 2,000 and quickly became a rampage.

Two Hindu tribesmen, armed with bows and arrows, were shot and killed by police.

More than 30 homes and shops were torched in the incident. Police reportedly fired more than 80 rounds of live ammunition and more than 100 tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd.

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Police have controlled the situation and said the violence was related to a train attack last month in Godhra, where a large group, believed to be Muslims, fire-bombed a train carrying Hindu activists.

In retaliation for the February 27 attack -- which killed 58 people, most of them Hindu -- Hindu rioters began torching Muslim homes and Muslim-owned shops throughout Gujarat state for several days.

The Indian government sent additional army and security forces to Gujarat to control the violence last week, which was concentrated in the state's commercial capital, Ahmedabad. At least 500 people were killed in the mayhem.

The Hindu activists were returning from a demonstration in the central Indian town of Ayodhya, where they were demanding the Indian government build a Hindu temple on the ruins of a mosque, destroyed by Hindus nearly a decade ago.

Authorities said the Hindu activists had gotten into a quarrel with a group of Muslims earlier that day.

Hindu hardliners say they are determined that a temple will be built on the disputed site
Hindu hardliners say they are determined that a temple will be built on the disputed site  

The government banned any activity on the site of the Ayodhya mosque, saying it would take stern action against anyone found violating court orders.

An Indian court is set to give a ruling on March 19 as to whether or not construction can take place on the site.

The 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya -- believed to be built on the site where the Hindu god, Ram, was born -- was destroyed by Hindu mobs in 1992. The act sparked nationwide riots and has been blamed for thousands of deaths. (History of the temple site)

Muslim and Hindu leaders have been in talks with government officials to diffuse the simmering religious tensions by reaching some sort of compromise regarding the future of the temple site.

However, on Sunday Muslim leaders in India said they are rejecting a Hindu proposal that would have given hardline Hindus access to land adjacent to the site of the 16th century Babri mosque. (Full story)

The hardline World Hindu Council, or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has been leading demands that a temple be built on the site and has set the date of March 15 to hold a symbolic prayer meeting there



 
 
 
 






RELATED STORY:
• Indian police open fire on mob
March 1, 2002

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