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Troops sent to quell India religious clashes

Religious violence hits Uttar Pradesh

Hundreds of troops were sent to Uttar Pradesh yesterday to quell deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims sparked by the killing of three villagers.

Nine people were killed when the two groups set upon each other with guns and knives in Kawal village on Saturday night.

Police said the violence quickly spread to neighbouring villages and a curfew was imposed in three riot-hit areas of Muzaffarnagar and a state of alert was imposed on the entire state.

The violence broke out after thousands of Hindu farmers rallied in Kawal to demand justice in the August 27 killing of three men.

The men were killed in a tea shop after speaking out at a woman being verbally harassed.

Minority Welfare Minister Mohammad Azam Khan said some at the meeting gave provocative speeches calling for Muslims to be killed.

But the farmers were met with a “well-planned” attack on when they returned home, a police spokesman said.

Gunfire was reported from several areas of the village and within hours clashes broke out in neighbouring villages.

The government has warned that India is seeing a rise in communal violence,
with 451 incidents reported already this year.

A spokesman for the Hindu chauvinist BJP said the violence could have been avoided if those responsible for the killings had been arrested.

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