September 15th, 2011
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Communal riots break out in Rajasthan

Jaipur: Four people were killed and dozens others injured while the police fired into groups of Hindus and Muslims clashing over a disputed village land in Rajasthan. Authorities have imposed an indefinite curfew to restore peace in half a dozen villages hit by the violence in Jaipur.

The land dispute erupted when mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other with stones and clubs in Gopalgarh, a village nearly 95 miles (155 kilometers) north of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, said state home minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal. The violence soon spread to neighboring areas that have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.

The Muslim community has been using the disputed land in Gopalgarh as a burial ground for several years. The Hindu community of shepherds and farmers also have staked claim to the land in a local court which is yet to rule on the dispute. Hindus make up more than 80% of India’s population, and Muslims comprise nearly 14%. Tensions remain between Hindus and Muslims since the bloody partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan after gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Although small clashes often break out in villages, India has not seen large-scale religious violence since 2002 when the neighboring Gujarat state was convulsed by a wave of anti-Muslim riots.

It started after 59 Hindus were burned to death in a train car in Godhra town. Local people accused Muslims of setting fire to the train and more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots.


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