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Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 17:42 GMT
Ravaged Ahmedabad limps back to life
woman by remains of her home, Gujarat
At least 350 people have died in Gujarat
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By Suprakash Ghoshal
BBC correspondent in Ahmedabad
line
Gujarat's financial capital is limping back to normal but the wounds of one of its worse communal clashes in years still fester.

Smoke from razed houses, charred bodies and burned vehicles still fills the air as businesses belonging to both Hindus and Muslims begin to reopen.

More than 150 people, mostly Muslims have been killed in Ahmedabad alone in community clashes with majority Hindus.

Nine-year-old Majid
Nine-year-old Majid was among the injured
The marauding mobs are now gone.

An uneasy calm has now descended on the city's old quarters where many Muslims were killed.

Army trucks have rolled in to quell the spiralling violence and instil confidence in a community shaken by the killings.

Their movement however has often been interrupted in many places by skeletons of burnt vehicles and shards of glass littering the roads.

The confidence the army sought to restore is unlikely to return as long as stories of more gruesome murders from other parts of Gujarat, pour in.

Revenge killings

"People were being lynched," said one local man, as he described the horrors of the revenge-seeking mobs.

Hospitals in Ahmedabad and elsewhere are stretched to their limits treating scores of wounded victims.

One badly-injured man described how he had ended up in hospital.

soldier
The army have imposed curfews
"We were trying our best to stop the looting and save our children from these mobs and then the police surrounded the entire Muslim locality and shot indiscriminately at us," he said.

Many of the wounded have been suffering helplessly for days, unable to venture out in curfew-bound Gujarat.

Doctors say many of them may die from blood-loss and aggravated infection.

There was no-one to heed their appeals for help, just as there was none to show mercy on those trapped in the middle of a lynch mob.

There is a picture in one of the city's newspapers - a lone Muslim man smeared in blood pleading for his life with folded hands. The man did not live to see whether peace would ever return to Gujarat.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Angus Crawford
visits the devastated towns of Gujarat state
See also:

02 Mar 02 | South Asia
Rioters defy Indian army
26 Feb 02 | South Asia
Vajpayee firm on Ayodhya
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
Militants converge on Ayodhya
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