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16 People Killed in New Outbreak of Hindu-Muslim Violence in India

From Associated Press

Violence between Hindus and Muslims broke out in southern India on Friday and at least 16 people were killed in stabbings, news reports said. Four others were killed elsewhere in the nation.

Authorities clamped an indefinite curfew on the southern town of Hyderabad, confining people to their homes. Press Trust of India said the violence continued throughout the day despite the curfew.

Three people were killed and 12 injured in fighting between followers of the two faiths in northern Aligarh, Press Trust reported. A curfew was imposed there as well, it said.

And in Ayodhya, the flash point of a lingering dispute between the religious groups, a Muslim man was burned to death after Hindu fundamentalists accused him of trying to disrupt their campaign to replace a mosque with a temple.

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About 380 people have died in Hindu-Muslim violence in the last two months since Hindu fundamentalists announced plans to pull down a disputed mosque in Ayodhya and replace it with a temple.

At least 22 people were killed when police opened fire on Hindu militants attempting to storm the mosque on Oct. 30 and again on Nov. 2.

On Thursday, the militants resumed their campaign to storm the temple. But they did not resist when police blocked them from reaching the disputed shrine, apparently because of an understanding the event would be more symbolic than real.

The religious crisis ignited by the Hindu campaign brought down the government of former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh last month.

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The mosque dispute has existed more than 100 years. Hindus say Muslim invaders built the small mosque atop a temple marking the birthplace of Rama, a Hindu god. Muslims say it is impossible to say where Rama was born.


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