Refugee crisis looms in India
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India is facing a growing refugee crisis with more than 100,000 people, mostly Muslims, now sheltering in camps as communal violence in the western state of Gujarat worsens.
A curfew is in effect in parts of the state, and police remain on high alert after at least seven Muslims were killed in riots Tuesday in Ahmedabad.
Those killings have brought the death toll to more than 30 from the violence since Sunday and to over 850 since India's worst religious bloodshed erupted in February.
The continuing violence has forced many to flee their homes pouring into already overcrowded refugee shelters.
"There's no end to the influx. People are coming in scared to death with nothing but the clothes on their backs," said Abdul Rashid, head of Ahmedabad's biggest relief camp, Shah Alam in a Reuters news agency report, adding that 2,000 people had arrived in the past three days.
There is growing unrest in India with many criticizing the government for its inability to control the violence, sparked by a train attack that killed almost 60 Hindus in February prompting mass rioting and clashes between Hindus and Muslims.
On Wednesday, India's main opposition congress party held a one-day hunger strike to urge the government to act in Gujarat.
The upper and lower houses of parliament in New Delhi will debate a motion to censure the government for its handling of the crisis next week.
The coalition government, led by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), cannot fall it if loses the motion.
But it is being seen as a very public test of Vajpayee's authority and the future viability of his multi-party coalition.
Many blame the central government as well as Gujarat authorities for failing to prevent rioting Hindu mobs from killing Muslims, with much of the stick falling on state chief minister Narendra Modi.
Opposition and even some coalition partners have been calling for the removal Modi -- also a BJP member.
Modi has defended accusations that he failed to stem the anti-Muslim violence and actually fanned the flames of religious hatred in Gujarat.
Vajpayee and other government officials have stood by Modi throughout the crisis, resisting calls to sack him.
The political wrangling, though, is little comfort to the people of Gujarat desperate for life to return to some sort of normalcy.
"If the police in Gujarat can't improve the situation, get some elsewhere. This can't go on," Ahmed Patel, after a Hindu gang went on the rampage Tuesday, torching shops and exploding gas cylinders, told Reuters.
"No one can tell what will happen. We don't know where to go," said Babu Bhai Ibrahim Sayed, who lives in a part of Ahmedabad where about 100 homes were torched last month, Reuters reported.
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