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1984: Violence follows Gandhi killing

VIDEO : Retaliation attacks after Gandhi is shot dead

Outbreaks of religious violence have occurred in parts of India in the wake of yesterday's assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Sikh members of her bodyguard.

Extra police and troops have been deployed in the Indian capital, Delhi, after angry mobs set fire to four Sikh temples.

Several Sikh-owned businesses were also attacked and stones were thrown at a car bringing India's President Zai Singh, a Sikh, from the airport.

All gatherings of more than four people have been banned in Delhi and the army has been put on high alert.

Rioting has also been reported in other areas of India.

The most serious was in the town of Agartala in the remote north-east where an overnight curfew was imposed after a mob attacked a police station believing Sikhs had taken refuge inside.


"We should not let our emotions get the better of us"

Rajiv Gandhi

Security has now been tightened and the authorities have moved to prevent attacks on isolated Sikh communities.

A new prime minister, Mrs Gandhi's son, Rajiv, was sworn in last night, 12 hours after his mother's death.

In a late-night broadcast to the country, Mr Gandhi appealed for calm.

"We should remain calm and exercise the maximum restraint. We should not let our emotions get the better of us," Mr Gandhi said.

Indira Gandhi was shot at 0900 local time yesterday by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.

She received 16 bullet wounds at close range in the chest and abdomen.

One of the assassins was shot dead on the spot by other guards; the other is now in hospital in a critical condition.

Leaders from around the world are expected to gather in Delhi for Mrs Gandhi's funeral on Saturday.

In Context
Approximately 1,000 people, mostly Sikhs, died in four days of rioting which followed Indira Gandhi's assassination.

More than 35,000 Sikhs fled to special refugee camps set up in Delhi.

Thousands also left the northern city of Kanpur which experienced some of the most violent rioting.

The assassination of Mrs Gandhi followed Sikh outrage in June when their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar, was stormed on her orders by Indian troops in an operation against Punjabi Sikh separatists.

In January 1986, the surviving bodyguard Satwant Singh, and two other men were sentenced to death for Mrs Gandhi's murder.


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