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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 02:56 GMT 03:56 UK
Gujarat puts off Hindu parade
2001 Jagannath Yatra celebration in Calcutta
A major Hindu event will go ahead on 12 July
The Indian state of Gujarat has postponed public displays planned for Thursday amid fears they could reignite religious violence between Hindus and Muslims.

The government in Delhi intervened, asking the state's chief minister, Narendra Modi, to put off the event.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Modi acted after advice from Delhi
Billed as a celebration of Gujarat's achievements, the Gaurav Yatra chariot processions were being organised by the Hindu nationalist BJP party.

India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had voiced fears that they might revive violence in the state earlier this year which saw more than 1,000 people killed.

While Mr Modi postponed Thursday's event, he did not change the timing of another Hindu mass celebration in Gujarat scheduled for 12 July.

The NHRC had also voiced concern about this event, the annual Jagannath Yatra.

Correspondents say that the authorities will wait to see how the 12 July event passes off before deciding on a new date for the Gaurav Yatra.

New terror

Earlier, Muslim refugees from the violence spoke of their fears about the Hindu rallies.

"Things were settling down over the past month or so and we had planned to return to our homes but since we heard about this we have lost courage," Hamid told Reuters news agency.

Mumtaz said the events had struck fear into Muslims living as refugees since the violence in February.

But one of Gujarat's state ministers, Purushottam Rupala, said Thursday's yatra events would have been a normal, peaceful part of life in the state.

"I don't know why it is being associated with communal violence," he said.

Gujarat conflict in-depth

Key vote

Tense state

Background

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26 Jun 02 | South Asia
30 Apr 02 | South Asia
28 Feb 02 | South Asia
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