Wed May 3, 2006 9:38 AM IST166, Source: Reuters,
AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) – A Hindu mob burnt to death a Muslim man in his car in new violence in Baroda 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, 120 km south of Ahmedabad. "A young man has been burnt 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 government.
"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 project.
Gujarat is one of India's most communally sensitive states. The highly industrialised state was rocked by Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 when 59 Hindus were burnt 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 burnt to death in retaliatory attacks. Officials put the toll at over 1,000 people.