07/18/2006, 00.00
INDIA
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Hindu leaders threaten Muslim massacre in wake of Mumbai bombs

The World Hindu Council has warned the government: if you do not bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai train attack to justice, we are ready to organise a second slaughter of the Islamic minority. Previous ones took place in 2002 and 1993.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Leaders of the world's largest Hindu organisation have threatened to "repeat Gujarat" against Muslims in India unless the government ensures that the perpetrators of the Mumbai bombings are swiftly brought to justice.

The World Hindu Council demanded that "Hindus be protected from terrorists" who, they believe, are "always Muslims".

The reference to a "second Gujarat" recalls the slaughter of the Muslim minority by nationalist extremists in retaliation for a train fire in which 59 Hindus died. Accused of responsibility for what happened, more than 1,000 Muslim believers were killed in the violent aftermath.

World Hindu Council international president, Ashok Singhal, said that "because of the government's Muslim appeasement policies, these terrorists were killing Hindus and escaping punishment. More than 90% of victims of all terrorist attacks in India are Hindus. It is a reality that Islamic militants have spread across the country and they have only one mission - to kill as many Hindus as possible."

He continued: "Everyone knows this attack was also directed at innocent Hindus. If the [Maharashtra and federal] governments fail to punish the culprits this time, we shall be forced to repeat Gujarat."

Singhal was talking during a nationwide two-day protest launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP, India's largest political part with fundamentalist-nationalist leanings].

The man is among the presumed perpetrators of the destruction of a mosque in Ayodhya, northern India, in 1993: the demolition sparked nationwide inter-faith riots resulting in more than 3,000 deaths.

Although last week's train attacks in Mumbai killed some Muslims too, the Islamic community of Maharashtra and Gujarat is very worried.

Most of the people killed in the train attacks were Hindus and many came from Gujarati. This campaign could provoke Hindus for a revenge attack on innocent Muslims," said one official of the Indian secret services.

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