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Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 12:40 GMT
Koran burning provokes protests
youths throw stones at police
Muslim youths throw stones at police in Kashmir
There has been a second day of protests in Indian-administered Kashmir after reports that copies of the Koran have recently been burnt in Delhi and Punjab.

But an indefinite curfew remains in effect in the town of Baramullah, where a youth died on Friday after the security forces opened fire during a demonstration by local Muslims.

No incidents have been reported there since the curfew was imposed.

The unrest began with a crowd of some 2,000 people staged a procession to protest against copies of the Koran allegedly being burnt by Hindu hardliners.

They in turn had been reacting to the Talebans' destruction of pre-Islamic artefacts in Afghanistan.

Map
In the ensuing disturbances, a deserted Hindu temple was set on fire and more than two dozen government and private vehicles were damaged.

Further demonstrations have been taking place in Indian Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar.

In several other places in Kashmir, shops and businesses have remained closed.

Government threats

BBC Delhi correspondent Mike Wooldridge says disturbances with any apparently religious element to them have always been a particularly sensitive issue in India.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee warned two days ago that swift and stern action would be taken against anyone provoking sectarian hatred.

Police have arrested seven people in Amritsar and have blamed a right-wing Hindu organisation for the alleged desecration of the Koran.

Last week, at least 15 people were killed in the northern city of Kanpur in clashes between police and Muslims protesting against the alleged burning of a copy of the Koran by Hindu radicals.

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22 Mar 01 | South Asia
Arrests over Koran burning
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