Sectarian riots spread in north India, 28 dead

At one hospital Hindu and Muslims are being kept in separate rooms

Topics: From the Wires, India, Hindu, Religion, muslim, Islam,

MUZAFFARNAGAR, India (AP) — Security forces have been ordered to shoot rioters on sight, as sectarian violence spread in northern India on Monday despite an army-enforced curfew imposed after deadly weekend clashes broke out between Hindus and Muslims.

Gunfire and street battles that erupted Saturday in villages around Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh state have killed at least 28 people and left many more missing, police said. Soldiers deployed to the region have been given orders to shoot rioters on sight, state government official Kamal Saxena said.

By Monday morning police had arrested 90 people. Still, the violence spread to the neighboring districts of Shamli and Meerut overnight.

Hundreds of people, some packed into bullock carts, tried to flee areas where their community represents a minority. One family trying to leave Kuttba village was beaten with metal rods and wooden sticks when caught between fighting factions.

“The whole village was very tense. I wanted to send my family to a safer place,” said Munavar, 24, who uses only one name, as his wife, 8-month-old daughter and 6-year-old niece lay on hospital beds nearby wearing bloody clothes and gauze bandages over their heads.

The violence began Saturday night after a meeting of thousands of Hindu farmers called for justice in the Aug. 27 killing of three young men from Kawal village who had objected when a woman was being verbally harassed. Officials said some farmers delivered hate-filled speeches against Muslims at the meeting.

Clashes with Muslims broke out after the meeting, with many wielding guns, swords, stones or knives, senior police officer Arun Kumar said.

One 26-year-old farmer, Anuvesh Baliyan, said he and others were attacked in Purvalian village as they were returning home on a tractor from the meeting. He said a mob wielding metal rods and swords surrounded the tractor and began beating them.

“We hid in a field for a full night until troops arrived the next day,” he said at Muzaffarnagar’s hospital, where he was being treated for sword wounds to his head and leg.

In the village of Mirapur Padav, 50-year-old Salma Liaquat said she was sitting in her open-sided hut Monday morning when four men came out of the jungle, shot her in the leg with a pistol and ran away. She and her neighbors, nervous about the rising tension, had asked police to patrol the area.

“We kept calling the police because we were scared,” neighbor Shahid Ansari said. “But they didn’t come until after the attack.”



Hindu and Muslim patients were being kept in separate rooms at the hospital in Muzaffarnagar, about 125 kilometers (78 miles) north of New Delhi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed grief and shock over the deaths.

As politicians on all sides accused one another of inciting the latest violence in Uttar Pradesh, the state barred people including politicians from visiting riot-affected areas.

Shops and schools were closed Monday in and around Muzaffarnagar. Soldiers were searching homes for weapons. Some 5,000 paramilitary officers joined the troops and thousands of local police on patrol.

Authorities stopped all newspaper deliveries and TV broadcasts in the area, but incendiary rumors spread by mobile phones and social media were still fueling the violence and making it difficult for soldiers to restore calm, state police inspector Ashish Gupta said.

A state of alert has been declared for Uttar Pradesh, a state of 200 million people where the 1992 razing of a 16th century mosque by a Hindu mob in Ayodhya sparked India’s worst communal clashes. The neighboring mountain state of Uttarakhand was also on alert.

The central government warned that communal violence was on the rise, and was expected to escalate further in the run-up to next year’s national elections. Already this year, 451 incidents have been reported, compared with 410 for all of 2012, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

__

Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee reported from Lucknow, India.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...