India: 427 dead

The death toll from the troubled Indian state of Gujarat rose to 427 over the weekend after a week of violence between Hindu and Moslem groups.

The situation in Gujarat has returned to normality, after the Indian Army sent troops to patrol the main cities and a curfew was imposed. The troops had orders to shoot to kill, to quell the violence. 73 people were shot dead by the security forces and 2,500 were arrested for disturbing the public order, as the main suspect behind the arson attack on a train at Godhra, which sparked off the violence, has been arrested.

Mohammad Hussein Kolota, the main suspect in this attack on Wednesday, which provoked 58 deaths, was the leader of the local Congress and Mayor of Godhra.

Meanwhile, Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes has visited Gujarat to inspect the 3,000 soldiers sent to the area and to see for himself the situation in Ahmedabad. Here he could see burnt-out carcasses of vehicles, a sea of stones and smouldering houses and businesses, a “shame for the nation”, in the words of Prime Minister Vajpayee.


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