BOMBAY, India, May 20 Reuter: At least 19 people have been killed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims following a disputed mayoral election in the Western Indian town of Aurangabad, police said on Friday.

They told Reuters by telephone from the town 270 km east of Bombay that a round the clock curfew had been imposed in a bid to end the violence.

The curfew was lifted briefly on Friday morning to allow people to buy food but reimposed. Police said they had been given orders to shoot curfew breakers on sight.

They said the trouble broke out on Tuesday, the eve of the Moslem Eid Al Fitr festival marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, when a court delayed judgement in a case seeking the annulment of a mayoral election. Police would not say who started the riots in a city where about a quarter of the 300,000 people are Moslem. But they said hundreds of people who gathered at the court to hear the expected judgement went on the rampage when it was delayed. The suit was brought by the rightwing Hindu Shiv Sena Party whose main slogan is “India is for Hindus” which won 27 of 60 seats to emerge as the largest single party in municipal in April.

The council election was marred by violence in which one person was killed and more than 20 were injured.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 27, 1988