Sunday Aug 12, 201212:45 AM GMT
Mumbai demo turns violent, two dead and dozens injured
Protesters in Mumbai block traffic during a demonstration against the deaths of Muslims in recent violence in Assam, India, on August 11, 2012.
Protesters in Mumbai block traffic during a demonstration against the deaths of Muslims in recent violence in Assam, India, on August 11, 2012.
Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:44AM
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At least two people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes between Indian police and thousands of Muslim protesters in Mumbai.


"Two deaths have been reported and 46 have been injured out of which 36 are policemen," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters on Saturday, AFP reported.

The police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse the protesters, who were holding a demonstration against the deaths of Muslims last month in India's northeast.

The protesters put three broadcast vans belonging to local television channels on fire and pelted police and public vehicles with bricks and stones, a police official in India's financial capital said.

The demonstration was organized by many Muslim groups, including Mumbai's Raza Academy, an organization promoting Islamic culture that had made a call to condemn recent ethnic violence in the Assam state.

The Mumbai demonstration "was peaceful and it suddenly turned unruly. It is unclear what sparked the violence", the city police official, who wants to remain anonymous, said.

"The situation is now under control," said Mumbai police spokesman Nisar Tamboli.

Last month, fighting erupted between Bodo tribes and Muslims in the Assam state, which borders Bangladesh.

Shinde told parliament earlier in the week that at least 77 people died in the clashes and about 400,000 fled their homes and are living in overcrowded camps in the northeast.

On July 28, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited some of the 400,000 displaced Muslims and told the victims of ethnic riots that it was "a time for healing."

"I have come here to share your sorrow and pain," Singh told the internally displaced people, who had fled their homes to escape the fighting.

"This is a time for healing," the Indian prime minister stated.

India's Northeast, which is ringed by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, is connected to the rest of the country by a narrow land strip called the chicken's neck.


The Northeast, which is home to more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups, has been racked by separatist revolts since India's independence from Britain in August 1947.

In recent years, Hindu and Christian tribes have expressed strong anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment toward Bangladeshi settlers. The Bodo tribes have clashed with Muslims in deadly riots several times since the 1950s.


Thirty years ago, about 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, died in riots in Assam.

GJH/AS
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