Hindu-Muslim clashes kill 4, injure 80 in western India


MUMBAI, India — Clashes between Hindus and Muslims in a western Indian town left at least four people dead and 80 injured over the weekend, forcing police to impose a curfew, an official said Monday.

The violence erupted Sunday when some Muslims tore up posters put up by a Hindu group near their shops in Dhule, a town 170 miles (280 kilometers) northeast of Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, police officer Jeet Patel said.

Local Muslims objected to the posters, which urged Hindus to wake up following a series of bomb blasts across Hindu-majority India. A group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for some of the bombings.

Muslims and Hindus attacked each other with stones and burned several shops, homes and vehicles in the area, Patel said.

Police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the rioters, he said.

Paramilitary soldiers also were called in to control the mob and a curfew was imposed in the area, Patel said.

He said three people were killed in the mob violence and one by the police firing.

Muslims comprise nearly 25 percent of Dhule’s 550,000 people. Friction and misunderstandings sometimes spark clashes between the two communities, which otherwise live and work together.

India’s Muslims, who account for about 14 percent of the country’s population of nearly 1.1 billion, lag far behind the Hindu majority in most social indicators, from literacy to household incomes.