4 killed as police fire at feuding Hindus, Muslims in Jaipur | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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4 killed as police fire at feuding Hindus, Muslims in Jaipur

jaipur Updated: Sep 16, 2011 07:59 IST

Police fired into groups of Hindus and Muslims clashing over a disputed village land in Rajasthan, killing at least four people and injuring dozens others, officials said on Thursday.

Authorities imposed an indefinite curfew to restore peace in half a dozen villages hit by Wednesday's violence in Jaipur. No fresh violence was reported on Thursday.

The simmering land dispute erupted Wednesday when mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other with stones and clubs in Gopalgarh, a village nearly 95 miles (155 kilometers) north of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, said state home minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal.

The violence soon spread to neighboring areas that have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.

Police have recovered four bodies from the area, said police officer Hinglaj Dan.

Five villagers sustained serious bullet injuries and have been hospitalized. Three policemen also were injured in the clashes, Dan said.

The Muslim community has been using the disputed land in Gopalgarh as a burial ground for several years. The Hindu community of shepherds and farmers also have staked claim to the land in a local court which is yet to rule on the dispute.

Hindus make up more than 80% of India's population, and Muslims comprise nearly 14%.

Tensions remain between Hindus and Muslims since the bloody partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan after gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Although small clashes often break out in villages, India has not seen large-scale religious violence since 2002 when the neighboring Gujarat state was convulsed by a wave of anti-Muslim riots.

It started after 59 Hindus were burned to death in a train car in Godhra town. Local people accused Muslims of setting fire to the train and more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots.