hyderabad 1

Indian police patrol the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 30, 2010/Krishnendu Halder

Indian police extended a curfew to several areas of the IT city of Hyderabad on Wednesday after four days of religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims left two dead and scores injured.  The religious strife has heightened tension and worried authorities in the southern city of Andhra Pradesh state, which houses major operations of such companies as Microsoft, Google and Mahindra Satyam.

Here are some questions and answers about the latest crisis:

WHAT ARE THE CLASHES ABOUT IN HYDERABAD?

Clashes started after a Hindu group replaced Muslim flags with Hindu ones on streets during a festival, triggering clashes with Muslims. Nearly 125 people have been arrested so far.  The once princely dominion in Hyderabad has a history of religious tension with Hindu groups taking on Muslims over festivals and respective customs to gain supremacy.

Political leaders from both communities have also ignited communal clashes in the past, hoping to win support of voters from their respective communities, experts say.  A bomb blast in May 2007, and recent protests over the carving of a new state called Telangana in Andhra Pradesh, are examples of how violence has often hit the city. hyderabad 2

A Hindu nationalist detained by police during a protest in Hyderabad March 31, 2010/Krishnendu Halder