Curfew widened in India

March 31, 2010 12:00 am

, HYDERABAD, Mar 31 – Indian police widened a curfew in the southern city of Hyderabad, home to IT giants Google and Microsoft, on Wednesday after a second man died in fresh religious clashes.

The two men died after four days of fighting and stone-throwing between mobs of Hindus and Muslims in violence sparked by arguments at the weekend over decorations for a religious festival.

Fighting spread out from the Old City area, where a curfew was imposed on Tuesday, leading police to extend restrictions to a further eight districts in new areas of the city, Press Trust of India reported.

A youth died on Tuesday during heavy stone-throwing by two groups. The other victim was stabbed to death on Monday. About 100 people have been injured, according to police figures.

A rally by Hindu groups on Tuesday for a festival day celebrating the birth of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman sparked the fresh unrest, police said.

"The situation is tense in major parts of Hyderabad but no fresh incidents of violence have been reported since last night," the top state police officer R.R. Girish Kumar said.

About 40 per cent of the city is now under curfew.

Hyderabad, a teeming city of eight million people, has attracted major investment from global information technology and pharmaceuticals firms, such as Microsoft and Google, and is a symbol of India\’s emerging economy.

But it has also suffered from historically deep communal tension and growing unrest over the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh state into two entities — an issue that has also led police to impose other curfews in recent months.

Frequent strikes and road and rail blockades in the city, which is the state capital of Andhra Pradesh, have caused widespread disruption to business over the last year.

Analysts say the turmoil has created a sense of uncertainty among investors, though social networking group Facebook chose Hyderabad earlier this month for its first office in India.

About 2,000 extra security personnel were sent to reinforce the city\’s police.


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