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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Hindus protest at Ayodhya attack
Protests in Delhi
Protesters tried to break through barricades in Delhi
Hindu nationalists in India have held angry protests, a day after an attack on a bitterly disputed religious site.

Police fired water cannon to disperse about 1,000 activists in Delhi. Six people were injured in Hindu-Muslim clashes in the eastern city of Ranchi.

Police are on high alert across India to prevent religious unrest.

No group has claimed Tuesday's attack on the Ayodhya holy complex. One gunman blew himself up and police killed the others in a two-hour gun battle.

India won't tolerate an attack on the birthplace of Ram
Protester's placard

The BBC's Sanjeev Srivastava in Ayodhya says there is a mood of uneasy calm in the town, where a strike has closed most shops and businesses.

He says the consequences would have been disastrous if civilians had been harmed or the religious site damaged.

In 1992 Hindu nationalists tore down the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in northern Uttar Pradesh state, sparking Hindu-Muslim riots in which at least 2,000 people were killed.

'Symbol' attacked

The authorities have appealed for calm and security has been stepped up at government and military facilities and religious sites all over India as a precaution.

Protests briefly shut the airport in the central city of Indore. Police made about 30 arrests after 30 Hindu activists damaged an airport lounge.

Police examine the wreckage of a jeep used in the attack
The wreckage of the jeep used to blow a hole in the Ayodhya fence

A strike called by India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was being observed in Ayodhya on Wednesday, but the response was patchy elsewhere.

BJP leader LK Advani told demonstrators in Delhi that the Ayodhya site had been attacked because it was "a symbol of cultural nationalism".

He accused the government of security failures.

"Down, down Pakistan," the crowd shouted, before they were dispersed by police firing tear gas and water cannon.

Hindu activists blame Islamic militants who they say were supported by Pakistan for Tuesday's attack. The authorities have yet to say who they suspect the gunmen were, although the government has called them "terrorists".

Pakistan has denied any role in the raid and India says the incident should not affect talks with its neighbour.

Tinderbox

Police say they have recovered three AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades at the site.

One of the attackers apparently blew himself up in a jeep laden with explosives in order to blow a hole in the fence of the complex.

Map of Ayodhya, in northern India

The five other attackers poured through the gap, before being surrounded by armed police.

The bloodshed that followed the destruction of the Babri mosque was viewed as the most serious threat to India's secular identity since independence in 1947.

Hindu hardliners say the mosque was built on a temple to the Hindu god Ram. The site is now one of the most heavily guarded in the country.

The BJP has called demonstrations to push for the construction of a permanent Hindu permanent temple at the Ayodhya complex.

Mr Advani is one of a number of Hindu leaders accused of inciting the mob which destroyed the mosque.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Allahabad ruled he should stand trial for his alleged role in the violence. A lower court had earlier exonerated him.


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See the protests that followed the Ayodhya attack



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