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Communal flare-up in Badlapur

Twelve people were injured as communal riots broke out in Badlapur town in the western state of Maharashtra Sunday night (October 20). Badlapur is situated 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Mumbai, India's commercial centre.

The violence reportedly erupted following a minor altercation between two youths belonging to different communities in the town. Communal atmosphere deliberately vitiated by the BJP and its sister organisations like the VHP and Bajrang Dal is so charged these days all over the country that even insignificant events may lead to violence these days. 

These extremist organisations day in and day out indulge in an endless barrage of propaganda about "Islamic terrorism" in which, between the lines, all Muslims in India and abroad are engaged. 

According to this irresponsible propaganda, Indian Muslims are agents of the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI and their religious madrasas are hotbeds of militancy and centres of terrorism.

As the news of the altercation spread, people from both the communities gathered and pelted stones at each other, sparking off the riots which left 20 persons injured, including two cops, in attacks by knives, stones and broken bottles. Mobs set on fire nearly a dozen shops and cars, including a police jeep. Police fired four rounds in the air as a mob set afire a police vehicle and indulged in heavy stone pelting, police sources said.

Nine injured people were rushed to a hospital at Badlapur. Six of them were later shifted to the central hospital in nearby Ulhasnagar town. 

Curfew has been clamped in the area and the situation is reported to be tense but under control. 

Additional police reinforcements have also been deployed in affected areas, police said, adding that strict vigil was being maintained in sensitive areas including the neighbouring towns of Bhiwandi, Kalyan and Mumbra, all close to Mumbai.

Only a week ago, Solapur, another town in the same state had seen widespread communal riots. Nine persons were killed and over 125 injured in Solapur, an important textile town. The Solapur riots had started when fanatic Hindus resisted Muslims protesting against the outpourings of the American evangelist Falwell. Every anti-Muslim, from zionists to rabid evangelists, is a fast friend of these fanatics. 

According to our reports, the purpose of the Solapur riots was to strike at the economic power of the Muslims in the area. Prosperous Muslim communities have been the target of such riots since the early 1960s.

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