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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 13:43 GMT
Religious tension simmers in north India
Burning shops
Violent mobs burnt shops in Kanpur on Sunday
Riot police reinforcements have been sent to the northern Indian city of Kanpur to quell a wave of communal violence.

At least 15 people have died since clashes broke out on Friday between police and Muslims protesting against the alleged burning of a copy of the Koran by Hindu radicals.

Patrol in Kanpur
Additional forces have been deployed
The administration in Uttar Pradesh, where Kanpur is located, said the city was calmer on Monday.

Police and protesters fought pitched battles in Kanpur on Sunday and police fired in the air to disperse a Hindu mob trying to damage a mosque.

A curfew covering parts of the city has been extended to other areas. At least 150 people have been arrested.

"There have been one or two incidents of arson. We are trying our best to normalise the situation," a police official was quoted as saying.

Residents complained that the curfew had made life difficult for them.

"We do not have proper food to feed our families. People are unable to cremate dead bodies. The situation is very bad," Wakil Ahmed, a local resident, said.

The Koran is reported to have been burnt in a protest in Delhi over the recent destruction of Buddhist statues by Afghanistan's Taleban Islamic movement.

That was followed by violent protests by a Muslim group in Kanpur, the Student Islamic Movement of India.

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