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Hindu-Muslim Clashes Kill 10 More in India

South Asia: Five perish when a mob burns houses in a western city. Nation's prime minister is to visit region today.

April 04, 2002|From Reuters

AHMADABAD, India — Ten people died as violence flared once again in India's riot-racked Gujarat state Wednesday, a day ahead of a visit by the prime minister to the area where more than 800 people have died in Hindu-Muslim bloodshed that began in February.

The latest victims included a family of five Muslims who were burned to death by a Hindu mob on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, Gujarat's commercial capital.

"Five charred bodies [of Muslims] were recovered . . . from one of three houses burned by a Hindu mob," a senior police officer said. Four others were hospitalized.

One Muslim married to a Hindu was hacked to death in Ahmadabad, and his body burned, while another Muslim was stabbed to death late Wednesday, police said.

Three other people were killed and 20 injured when police sought to disperse Hindu and Muslim gangs hurling Molotov cocktails and throwing stones at each other in Ahmadabad and in Umreth, 40 miles to the southeast.

It was the highest one-day death toll in the last two weeks.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has said he wants to take "personal stock" of the situation during his first trip to the state since the violence erupted.

Gujarat, in western India, is ruled by Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which also heads the ruling federal coalition.

Both the state and federal governments have been sharply criticized by opposition parties for failing to act swiftly to stop the carnage in which many victims were burned or hacked to death--a charge they have denied.

While the worst of the mayhem occurred at the end of February and the beginning of March, the state has continued to simmer with sporadic killings and arson attacks, and the violence has spread to rural areas where there is little security presence.

More than 35 areas across the state remain under curfew.

During his daylong visit, Vajpayee will visit Godhra, 65 miles southeast of here, where a Muslim mob torched a train carrying Hindus from a disputed holy site, killing 58 people and triggering the wave of savagery.

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