SRINAGAR, India, June 17,  Reuter: Buddhist youths ransacked shops and overturned vehicles in Leh, the main town of India’s remote Ladakh region, as two months of peaceful protests turned violent, officials here’ said on Friday.

They said an unspecified number of people were detained in other Ladakh towns on Wednesday after setting up roadblocks and demonstrating against the arrest of four Buddhist youths suspected of blowing up the house of a Christian man who had married a Buddhist woman.

Buddhist groups had ‘given local officials 50 days to free the youths and to return 50 Buddhist children they said had been taken to Srinagar and converted to Christianity by Jesuit missionaries.

The violence followed the expiry of the deadline, although Kashmir authorities had announced the establishment of a special court to try the youths.

The bombing was believed to be the first in the peaceful Ladakh region of the Western Himalayas, where almost everyone is Buddhist.

Local leaders have threatened to intensify the agitation if their demands are not met.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 24, 1988