Hindu Backlash

Is India's nationalist government finally losing patience with its Hindu extremist allies? Last Friday, Hindu hardliners staging a protest in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya found themselves under fire from an unexpected quarter: state and federal police wielding wooden lathes and batons and firing rubber bullets and tear gas. By day's end more than 1,000 Hindu activists were in custody and another 15,000 had been loaded on to buses and trains and sent away. An outraged Ashok Singhal, leader of the rally's organizer, the militant Hindu group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), was moved to declare: "They treat Hindus like animals...

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