Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Youth burnt alive in Indian riot after Muslim's murder


A Muslim man was hacked to death and a Hindu youth fatally burned in new sectarian violence overnight in India's Gujarat state and a curfew was imposed yesterday to try to stem the violence, police said.

The fierce rioting took place in Ahmadabad, the business hub of Gujarat and one of India's leading trading centers. More than 1,000 people were killed in sweeping religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat last year and the state has witnessed frequent clashes between the two sides -- often over matters as small as arguments at a tea shop or a cricket match.

The latest clashes began on Sunday night in the city's Muslim-dominated area of Chuhapora soon after Muslim resident Rasool Ghanchi was hacked to death outside a local theater, said P.C. Thakur, the joint commissioner of police in Ahmadabad.

As word spread, a riot broke out in another Muslim-dominated area, Kalupur, the city's main business district, Thakur said.

Two Hindu youths on a motorbike were dragged down and one was burned to death a few meters from the local police station, he said. The other was stabbed and later admitted to a hospital.

People from both communities hurled rocks at each other, and burned vehicles and shops. Police imposed an indefinite curfew after midnight in the Kalupur area.

"Since last night, we have raised security in the ... city and four people have been rounded up in connection with burning alive the Hindu youth," Thakur said.

"These two boys who were attacked were not involved in the riots. Unfortunately, the Muslims got their hands on them while they were passing by," he said.

Religious tensions have been high in Gujarat since February last year, when a Muslim mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu activists. That attack set off a wave of reprisal killings and riots in which Muslims were the main victims.

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