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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Army deployed after deadly riots in India

The army has been deployed in India's Rajasthan state after 14 people were killed in violent clashes over the government's affirmative action plans.

Police fired on protesters from the nomadic Gujjar tribe who had blocked a key highway near Delhi on Tuesday.

At least two of those killed are believed to be policemen.

The BBC's Narayan Bareth in the state capital, Jaipur, says that there have been reports of protests by Gujjars spreading to other parts of the state.

In a separate incident, a mob cut off the hands of one policeman and the leg of another, according to Rajasthan interior minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

A Gujjar community leader, Avinash Badana, told India's state-run Doordarshan channel that the police had fired on "unarmed people".

The Gujjars are a large and politically-influential nomadic tribe spread across north India.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India

They are demanding that they be categorised as an official tribe so that they may benefit from affirmative action quotas which will give them access to government jobs as well as places in state-supported schools and colleges.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India, with many poor communities arguing that it is the only way millions of under-privileged people can benefit from India's economic boom.

But those opposed to it say it is a cynical move by politicians to gain more votes from politically influential communities who make up a large percentage of the country's population.


More detail can be found on BBC website.

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