May 2, 2006

Muslim man burned to death in new rioting in India

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - A Hindu mob burned to death a
Muslim man in his car in new violence in a western Indian city
early on Wednesday, raising the toll in clashes sparked by
demolition of a Sufi shrine to six, police said.

More than 70 people, including 10 policemen, have been
injured in clashes since Monday when the two-centuries-old
Muslim shrine was demolished by civic authorities in Baroda, 75
miles south of Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat state.

"A young man has been burned to death. The situation is
tense and curfew has been imposed," city police chief Deepak
Swaroop told Reuters.

The 30-year-old victim, who worked in an oil refinery, was
returning from a late shift when he was surrounded by a mob of
hundreds, including activists of hardline Hindu groups linked
to the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules Gujarat.

Minority Muslim residents said they did not trust the state

"Our lives are in danger as Hindu extremists armed with
swords and knives surrounded our residences. We called the
police but no one responded," said Moyin Khan.

State home minister Amit Shah said the government was keen
to control the violence and was doing all it could.

Civic authorities said they had to demolish the Muslim
shrine because it was illegal and blocking a road-widening

Gujarat is one of India's most communally sensitive states.
The highly industrialized state was rocked by Hindu-Muslim
riots in 2002 when 59 Hindus were burned to death in a train
compartment, which the state government blamed on a Muslim mob.

Human rights groups say about 2,500 people -- mostly
Muslims -- were hacked, beaten or burned to death in
retaliatory attacks. Officials put the toll at over 1,000