A special Indian court on Tuesday sentenced to death 11 people for setting fire to a train in Godhra in the western state of Gujarat in 2002, killing 59 people in an act that led to some of the worst religious riots in the country since independence in 1947. The Sabarmati Express was carrying Hindu devotees returning from the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
Christians in Nepal have threatened to parade corpses in the capital to press the government into finding them alternative burial grounds after burials near the country’s holiest Hindu shrine were banned.
from India Insight:
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watched India’s 61st Republic Day parade in the New Delhi sunshine on Wednesday morning, senior opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were in a Jammu prison, where they had spent a night under arrest.
A stampede sparked by a night-time road accident in dense forest has killed more than 100 Hindu pilgrims in the southern state of Kerala in India. Kerala’s deputy general of police told reporters that 102 people who visited the Sabarimala Temple to offer prayers to the Hindu deity Ayappa had been killed on Friday night. Officials at a Hindu temple estimated the death toll at around 100, Kerala Temple Affairs Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally said by telephone.
(Photo: Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia Gandhi, in New Delhi May 21, 2009/B Mathur)
Rahul Gandhi, seen as an India prime minister in waiting, told the U.S. ambassador radical Hindu groups could posed a bigger threat to the country than the Islamists who attacked Mumbai in 2008, a leaked cable showed. The comments made to Timothy Roemer last year were immediately criticised by the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding to political sparring that has deadlocked parliament and pushed policymaking into limbo.
(Photo: After the blast in Varanasi December 7, 2010/Stringer)
India said Wednesday a home-grown Islamist group with ties to Pakistani militants was behind a bomb attack in one of its holiest cities, Varanasi, and local media reported two people were questioned over the attack. Home Secretary Gopal Pillai said traces of explosives were found at the site of Tuesday evening’s blast in the northern city that killed a two-year old girl and injured 37 Hindu worshippers and foreign tourists.
As the sun sets over a serene stretch of the mighty Ganges, a pair of smooth, grey dolphins arch gracefully out of the water, bringing hope that wildlife can again call India’s great river home.
(Photo: A Hindu priest walks past a mosque during Friday prayers in Ayodhya, October 1, 2010/Mukesh Gupta)
Indian Muslim clerics and leaders rallied on Friday against a court ruling over the disputed Ayodhya site that largely favoured Hindus, raising fears of further alienation of the minority community. The decision has been met with calm throughout India, despite fears the ruling could spark religious riots.
An Indian court ruled on Thursday that the site of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya would be divided between Hindus and Muslims, in a ruling that could appease both groups in one of the country’s most divisive cases.
India has put tens of thousands of police on the streets and the air force on high alert ahead of possible violence when a court on Thursday rules on a century-old religious dispute between Hindus and Muslims.