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Six die in clashes over Qu'ran desecration

Police open fire after mob attacks and burns station

Swati Deb, New Delhi

September 17, 2012

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Violent protests over the desecration of a Qu'ran in Uttar Pradesh have claimed six lives. Three police officials were suspended for not controlling the September 14 violence in the state's Ghaziabad district, not far from the national capital New Delhi. Trouble flared when a copy of the Qu'ran with abusive comments scribbled on its pages was discovered on railway tracks. An angry mob stormed a police station, burnt it down and attacked officers, according to a police statement. The police say they had to open fire to disperse the rioters. However, local Muslim leader Ayub Ali maintained that the mob turned violent only after police ignored the complaint. An eyewitness told that there were bullet marks on the walls of the police station, which suggests that the mob may have fired at it. Prashant Kumar, senior superintendent of police in Ghaziabad, said a case has been registered against unidentified attackers and an investigation has been ordered by the divisional commander. "Whatever happened was part of a conspiracy," he said. "The attackers were carrying weapons, which indicates that they were criminals.” The state's opposition party, Bahujan Samaj, has alleged a gross law and order failure on the part of the state government. Police, however, do not link the violence with the controversy over the anti-Islam movie that has triggered protests among the Muslim community across the globe, including India. Earlier, protests against the controversial film Innocence of Muslims spread in India, with agitators targeting the U.S. consulate in Chennai. In Jammu and Kashmir, northern India, authorities placed top separatist leaders under preventive detention to maintain law and order. Uttar Pradesh state has a history of violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Related reports Sighs of relief over Ayodhya land verdict
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