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World Briefing / India

Official resigns over riot charges

March 28, 2009|Times Wire Reports

An Indian state minister accused of leading Hindu mobs that attacked Muslims during some of the country's worst religious violence in recent years resigned and surrendered to authorities for arrest.

Maya Kodnani, who was minister of education and child welfare in western Gujarat state's government, has denied the allegations against her. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed when Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods, towns and villages in the state from February to April 2002.

The state government is controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and has been accused of not doing enough to stop the violence and at times stoking it.

Kodnani's arrest is a major embarrassment for the party ahead of general elections that begin next month. The BJP is the main rival to the ruling alliance in New Delhi led by the centrist Congress Party.

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