Two Killed As Indian Newspaper Sparks Muslim Riots

March 2, 2010

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Reuters

A curfew was imposed on a southern Indian town on Tuesday after two people were killed when Muslims rioted to protest against a newspaper article they said offended Islam, police said. One of those killed was shot by police, who opened fire as the y tried to stop hundreds of Muslims attacking shops and vehicles in Shimoga town, its police chief S. Murugan said.

The town is about 250 km (170 miles) from Bangalore, the nerve center of India's $60 billion outsourcing industry that runs services from software coding to managing computer networks and call centers. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka state, ruled by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and if the violence spreads in reprisal attacks it could disrupt business.

Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets on Monday after a local newspaper published what it said was an article by controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin challenging the traditional Muslim veil as curbing women's freedom. They vandalized shops and damaged vehicles. Protests also spread to Hassan town. Police said Hindus had retaliated at some places.