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Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Anti-US protesters killed in India
A cook at a Muslim-owned restaurant in Bombay displays an appeal to boycott US products
India has seen a number of anti-US demonstrations
By Francis Harrison in Delhi

Seven people have died as a result of police firing on a demonstration against US strikes in Afghanistan, officials in the western Indian state of Maharashtra have said.

More than 50 people received minor injuries.

A curfew has been declared in the area, and the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Chhaggan Bhujbal, says the situation is now tense but under control.

Reports say the trouble started when a group of Muslims returned from Friday prayer in the town of Malegaon, some 250 km (156 miles) from Bombay.

Large numbers of local police tried to prevent a small group of Muslims from distributing leaflets calling on people to boycott US-made goods and to oppose the American air strikes on Afghanistan.

Demo turns violent

When the protesters started shouting slogans, additional police were called in and the demonstrators started throwing stones at the security forces.

The police say they then baton-charged the crowd, which led to more people coming on to the streets. The police felt outnumbered and started shooting.

Three people were killed at first and more died later in hospital.

There have been several anti-US demonstrations by Indian Muslims since the bombing began in Afghanistan, but this is the first time anyone has died.

It appears as though this was mainly a law-and-order situation that got out of control because of police nervousness.

See also:

29 Oct 01 | South Asia
Kashmiris protest at US strikes
22 Oct 01 | South Asia
More security after Coca Cola attack
20 Oct 01 | South Asia
Indian thinkers protest at US raids
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
India facing regional uncertainty
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