Three Die in Karnataka Violence

BBC News, July 2, 2009

At least three people have been killed in violent clashes between mobs of Hindus and Muslims in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Two people died in the riots in the city of Mysore and a third was killed when police opened fire.

Violence began when the carcass of a pig was thrown into a mosque. A curfew has been imposed in the affected areas.

Mysore has a significant Muslim population and police say it has a history of religious strife.

“Some miscreants threw the carcass of a pig in the mosque. People gathered in large numbers and protested,” senior police officer VS D’souza told the BBC.

Correspondents say pitched battles were fought between Hindu and Muslim mobs before police opened fire to disperse the rioters.

Several people have been arrested, police said.

A curfew has been imposed in the riot-affected areas and schools and colleges have been ordered shut until 4 July.

Karnataka is the only southern state ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Last year, more than 20 churches in the state were desecrated by the hardline Hindu group Bajrang Dal.

The group’s leader in the state, Mahendra Kumar, was arrested after he admitted that his group had carried out the initial attacks on churches.

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