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Friday, 18 October, 2002, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Indian Hindu leader rejects claims
India's right-wing Hindu leader, Bal Thackeray, who is being investigated over calls for Hindus to form suicide squads, has insisted his remarks were not aimed against Muslims, only against terrorists.

Police in the western Indian city of Bombay are investigating claims of inciting hatred against Mr Thackeray, who heads the far-right Hindu political party, the Shiv Sena.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Thackeray said he did not regret his speech on Tuesday calling on Hindus to be ready to give their lives.

He also wrote an article in his party's paper, saying Hindus had no option but to confront Islamic militants and, as he put it, make the supreme sacrifice.

He said he would not seek bail if arrested.

When asked whether retaliatory violence was his only answer to attacks by terrorists, Mr Thackeray said he could not think of any other solution.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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