//Four killed as anti-Bush protests take communal colour in Lucknow

Four killed as anti-Bush protests take communal colour in Lucknow

LUCKNOW, MARCH 3: Four persons were killed and over 24 injured today as anti-Bush protests assumed communal colours and violence spread to various parts of the city. Pitched battles took place between the protestors and shopkeepers after the latter were told to down shutters in protest against the Bush visit.

The violence took place on the day of the visit of the President A P J Abdul Kalam and former prime minister Atal Vajpayee to the city. Trouble began in the afternoon in the Nazirabad area after a procession reached there after Friday prayers to protest against the Bush visit.

“The agitators first tried to force a group of shopkeepers to down their shutters. The shopkeepers refused, leading to a clash,” said a local shopkeeper. Within minutes, violence gripped a major part of Aminabad and its adjoining areas like Wazirganj, Qaiserbagh, La Touche Road and Maulviganj. The violence continued for four hours.

The police opened fire in the air in Maulviganj as the mob exploded crude bombs and opened fire. Nine persons received bullet injuries and have been admitted to the Trauma Centre.

The Aminabad branch of Bank of Baroda was set afire while about two dozen vehicles, parked in front of the branch, were charred. Several shops were also set on fire in Aminabad. The local VHP has called a strike tomorrow.