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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 12:05 GMT
Calcutta calm after day of riots
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Soldiers on Calcutta's streets
Soldiers continue to patrol the city streets
Life is returning to normal in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta a day after protests over a controversial writer turned into riots.

Troops called to maintain peace in the city continue to patrol the streets, but a curfew has been lifted.

On Wednesday, police using tear gas and baton charges were unable to control crowds calling for Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasreen to leave India.

Rioters blocked roads and set cars alight. At least 43 people were hurt.

More than 100 arrests were made.

Crowds were also protesting at recent attacks on Muslims in the Nandigram area in the east of West Bengal state.

A number of people have been killed and thousands left homeless in Nandigram after violence over now-abandoned state plans to industrialise farm land in the area.

Road blocks

"The night was peaceful and we hope things will return to normal," Calcutta police chief Gautam Chakraborty said.

Shops have reopened and children are back at school.

But more than 700 soldiers are still on the streets of central Calcutta to prevent any fresh trouble.

Taslima Nasreen
Ms Nasreen faced death threats in her homeland

Wednesday's trouble in the state capital began after the predominantly Muslim All-India Minority Forum called for blockades on major roads in the city.

The group said Ms Nasreen had "seriously hurt Muslim sentiments". Many Muslims say her writing ridicules Islam.

Police arrived in strength to disperse the demonstrators.

Violence then broke out in Ripon Street in the north of the city and spread to Park Circus, Moulali and many other areas of central Calcutta.

For most of Wednesday, parts of the city centre were a no-go area, with main roads closed to traffic and commuters stranded.

Children spent hours in buses before they could be returned to the safety of their schools.

Critics say Ms Nasreen called for the Koran to be changed to give women greater rights, but she vehemently denied making the comments.

She fled Bangladesh in the early 1990s after death threats and has spent the last three years in Calcutta after a long stay in Europe.

India has not granted her citizenship which she has requested but has granted regular visa extensions.

SEE ALSO
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Violence marks Bengal shutdown
08 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Taslima Nasreen gets Indian visa
01 Sep 05 |  South Asia
'Bengal Maoists' target car plant
04 Dec 06 |  South Asia
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09 Oct 06 |  South Asia
Economic zone plans polarise India
02 Oct 06 |  South Asia

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