Death Toll Rises Above 570 in India’s Religious Clases

The deadly riots erupted last Wednesday when a Muslim mob set fire to a train loaded with Hindu activists, killing 58. Since then revenge attacks have swept the region in the worst violence the country has seen in a decade. Most of those killed since the initial attack have been Muslims.

Police fired at a mob trying to set fire to Muslim buildings early Monday, killing two people. Over the weekend there were reports of rioting and torching of stores and homes.

Police arrested 2,852 people in the region, including 27 in connection with the train fire. The Associated Press reported that 84 of the fatalities occurred during confrontations with police.

Officials appeared buoyed by the decline in activity Monday.

“The worst is over,” a senior official of the western state of Gujarat told Reuters. “I wouldn’t say it is normal but we’re slowly moving toward it.”

However schools remain closed and curfews were imposed in many towns.

The train of Hindus had been returning from the northern town of Ayodhya on Wednesday. The Hindus are planning to build a temple in Ayodhya, considered the birthplace of the deity Lord Ram, and a popular pilgrimage destination.

The site is also the former location of a Muslim mosque in the 16th century. It was demolished ten years ago when members of the World Hindu Council and other extremists tore it down as an act of liberation.

The ensuing riots and religious violence killed as many as many as 3,000 people, mostly Muslims, in 1992.

The police said today they had made 2,852 arrests, including 27 in connection with the train fire.