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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Hardline Hindu leader charged
Indian police have charged a right-wing Hindu leader, Bal Thackeray, with inciting communal passion by calling on Hindus to form suicide squads to attack Muslims.

Mr Thackeray - who holds no official post but is leader of the Shiv Shena party in the ruling coalition - was also charged with spreading hatred between Hindus and Muslims.

In a recent article in his party paper, Mr Thackeray wrote that Hindus had no option but to confront Islamic militants and, as he put it, make the supreme sacrifice.

At a rally on Tuesday, he called on Hindus to be ready to give their lives.

He said that an attack on a Hindu temple in Gujarat state last month, in which 30 people were killed, showed that the government was unable to fight terrorism.

Mr Thackeray has not been arrested yet but correspondents say he could be jailed for up to three years if convicted.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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