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Politic-Economic-Society-Tech

Violence prevented as 10,000 are held
From Coomi Kapoor in Delhi

A CONFRONTATION at a disputed religious site was averted after more than 10,000 people were detained in preventive custody.
MPs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were among those held before a ceremony in the northern pilgrim town of Ayodhya.

The ceremony related to a proposed temple on the site that is believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram. A 16th-century mosque stood there until it was burnt down by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992.

In India the majority are Hindus, although Muslims account for 12 to 14 per cent of the population.

Before the ceremony, hundreds of people shouted slogans and waved saffron flags as they marched through the narrow lanes of Ayodhya.

Tensions were high in the town, which resembled a fortress, with thousands of paramilitary troops brought in to ensure that the Hindu fundamentalists did not defy a Supreme Court order that was made on Wednesday. All entrances to the city were sealed.

The fact that the ceremony passed off peacefully may have earned the Government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister, a temporary respite. But it met criticism from the Opposition and some political allies. Sonia Gandhi, the Leader of the Opposition, accused the Government of conniving with fundamentalists among its political allies.


source: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/, 16/03/2002


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