India communal clashes kill dozens

AFP-JIJI

Hundreds of troops have been dispatched to India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh after at least 28 people were killed in a weekend of communal violence, police said Monday.

Authorities declared a high security alert after clashes between Muslims and Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, which has witnessed some of the country’s worst religious violence in recent decades.

TV footage showed troops on patrol in riot-hit areas with villagers seeking safety in police stations in the worst-hit Muzaffarnagar district, 105 km northeast of New Delhi.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav called for calm in the state, which has a sizeable Muslim population, as television aired footage of injured victims on hospital gurneys.

“No leniency will be shown toward those disturbing peace. District officers have been given a free hand to control the situation,” Yadav warned in televised remarks.

Some 800 troops had been deployed to the state, India’s most populous with 200 million people, NDTV network said.