New Delhi, India — eight more people were reported slain in communal violence in India on Friday. Indian President Zail Singh expressed grave concern that deteriorating law and order threatened national unity.
“As you are all aware, we have been passing through difficult times. The lawandorder situation in some parts of the country has indeed been causing concern,” Zail Singh told a meeting of state governors in the capital.
“I would like to emphasize that violence can have no place in our political and social system,” the president added.
The United News of India news agency reported that five of the slayings occurred in the western Indian state of Gujarat and three in Punjab state, stronghold of the 13million member Sikh minority.
Unidentified assailants shot and killed a bank guard in the Punjab, the news agency said. In another incident in the state, an explosion killed two people, the report said.
In Gujarat, riot police opened fire to quell bloodly Moslem-Hindu rioting and arson, killing at least two people and wounding several, state authorities reported. Three other people were fatally stabbed, they said.
The killings raised to 201 the fatality toll in four months of disturbances in Gujarat, home state of the late Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of nonviolence.
The state has been wracked by a student led protest against a controversial state government plan to increase quotas for lower castes in colleges and government employment.
“The situation in Punjab arising out of subversive and antinational activates of extremists and terrorists have posed a serious threat to the unity and integrity of the country,” Zail Singh said.
Much of the violence Friday occurred in the Gujarat city of Baroda, where rival community members fought pitched battles with rocks, knives, firebombs and acid filled electric bulbs, the news agency said.
At least 10 people have died in communal strife this week in Baroda, 233 miles north of Bombay.
Article extracted from this publication >> July 12, 1985