NEW DELHI, India: The BBC reported that communal rioting between Hindus and Muslims in the Uttar Pradesh city of Meerut was continuing despite imposition of curfew and assignment of a large group of soldiers.

A Hindi language broadcast said during the past 24 hours five persons were killed raising the total to 72 dead since Tuesday when the rioting began on the occasion of ShabeBarat.

BBC’s Delhi correspondent

Mark Tully said the U.P. Home Minister expressed concern over continued rioting after touring the city. Home Minister Gopi Nath Dixit was sent to Meerut by the U.P. Chief Minister for a first hand assessment of the situation.

Mark Tully quoted a UNI report that the cause of the latest noting was the Muslim agitation over the conversion of a mosque in Ayodhya, the birth place of Hindu god Rama, into a temple. Hindus claim that the spot at which the: mosque was built by the first Mughal emperor Babar was actually the birth place of Rama.

Last month, Mark Tully’s report said, several hundred thousand Muslims had staged a mass demonstration in Delhi protesting the conversion of the mosque and demanded its return. A speech delivered by the Imam of Jama Masjid of Delhi was considered by the government as highly provocative and was blamed for the current unrest in Meerut, the BBC said.

Meanwhile, in a separate broadcast the BBC also reported continued violence in the north Indian state of Punjab where several people were reported killed. The broadcast said in the southern part of the state four members of a Hindu family were shot dead.

In another incident, near Amritsar, a Sikh priest was hacked to death and the assailants made away with an iron safe containing a large amount of money.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 8, 1987