New Delhi — Police and army troops fired into battling crowds of Hindus of opposing castes in western India Saturday, killing four people, including a 2yearold boy, and wounding 20 others, government radio reported.

State-run All India Radio said violence erupted for a second day in a row in the cities of Baroda and Ahmedabad in Gujarat state, 480 miles southwest of New Delhi. Ten people were killed Friday.

The violence came amid calls for a general strike to protest government policies that reserve places in colleges for lowcaste Hindus and provide rapid promotion for lowcaste people in the civil service.

The radio and the Press Trust of India domestic news agency said police in Baroda fired 25 rounds to quell clashing groups early Saturday morning, killing the 2yearold boy as he slept outside his house.

A stray bullet also killed a middle-aged woman who was in bed and a young man involved in the fighting was shot to death, the Press Trust said.

Ten people’ were wounded in the Baroda violence, it said.

An official report said Police opened fire as opposing caste groups battled with knives and clubs. They also fired 96 tear gas canisters to break up the fighting, which raged for 14 hours Saturday.

In Ahmedabad, the state’s largest city, army troops opened fire in a district of the old section of the city where caste conflict and religious rivalry between Hindus and Moslems has been fiercest.

An army spokesman said one person was killed and six injured, including three people who received stab wounds in street fighting.

The Press Trust said four people were injured in a bomb explosion in the city Saturday night.

Central areas of the city were put under indefinite curfew.

A police jeep was set afire and mobs hurled light bulbs filled with acid at police in Surat city, 120 miles south of Ahmedabad, the official radio said.

The latest deaths raised to 141 the number of people killed in four months of strikes, demonstrations and riots against the government’s caste policies.

Gujarat state Home Minister Amarsinh Chaudhary said the government was determined to end the clashes. He said calling for a strike was sufficient cause for arrest.

The state has experienced strikes by doctor’s civil servants, shopkeepers and students in the campaign to end advantages for the lower castes.

Leaders of the campaign have said the advantages are unfair, cause inefficiency and perpetuate the caste system. They have called for reserved places in schools to be based on economic status rather than caste status.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 14, 1985