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Christians, Muslims say Hindu nationalists persecuting them

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2003

AHMADABAD, India (AP) Christian and Muslim groups in the western Indian state of Gujarat have accused the Hindu nationalist government of terrorizing them, saying a commission established to protect their interests was failing in its duties.

Christian and Muslim leaders outlined their grievances in a meeting Saturday with Tarlochan Singh, chairman of the autonomous National Minorities Commission.

Bloody Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat last year killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. Police reportedly looked the other way when Hindu mobs attacked the Muslims.

The commission does not have the power to prosecute, but it could ask the federal government to remove a state government if it concluded that local officials were not protecting people of different faiths.

Hindus comprise nearly 84 percent of India's more than 1 billion people. Muslims make up more than 13 percent and Christians 2.4 percent of the population.



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