05/19/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Uneasy calm in Hyderabad in the aftermath of Mosque attack

The situation in the city remains tense. The death toll rises to 14, as 6 companies of Rapid Action Force are sent. The police speak of a “sophisticated devise”. No one has so far claimed responsibility; analysts and Christian groups warn against attempts to spark inter - religious hatred and to undermine the country’s unity and secular nature.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) – The atmosphere in Hyderabad remains tense after yesterday’s violent bomb attack on the city’s historic Mosque. The death toll from the explosion and subsequent attacks has risen to 14: 10 of whom dies in the blast, 4 who died later during clashes after police intervened to calm protests from the Muslim community.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.  The police confirmed the bomb blast was probably a “terrorist attack”, sand speaks of a “powerful and sophisticated” devise, triggered by a cellular phone, but they have released no further details.  Analysts and newspapers hypothesize about the involvement of Simi (Students Islamic Movement of India), along with militant groups based in Pakistan.  The aim, they say, is to trigger communal clashes in India which, while more than 80 percent Hindu, has the world's second biggest Muslim population after Indonesia.

The All India Christian Council (AICC) condemned the attack on Hyderabad, and speaks in its statement of a “conspiracy” to damage the inter-religious harmony, the integrity and the secular nature of the nation.  The organization compares yesterday’s aggression to violence against missionary priests and sisters and to the recent clashes between Sikhs and local sects in the Punjab.  It furthermore denounces the “paralyses” of the central government in managing the situation.

Today the streets of Hyderabad are deserted because of a strike called for by a famous local Muslim group protesting the violence.  The city council has asked for 6 companies of the Rapid Action Force to be sent. Yet despite the fear, At the Mecca Masjid, at least 100 worshippers quietly gathered for morning prayers. "We cannot stop the prayers for anything in this mosque," said Maulana Khalliluddin, one of the mosque clerics. In the afternoon burial ceremonies will be held for the victims.

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