Indian media say 'no room' for violence in politics

Supporters of Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP) and India"s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clash during a protest outside the office of BJP in the northern Indian city of Lucknow March 5, 2014. Street clashes marred an announcement on Wednesday that India"s general election will start on April 7 as passions run high in a race that pits Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi against the unpopular Nehru-Gandhi family"s ruling party Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Supporters of the BJP and AAP clashed in several Indian cities on Wednesday

Media in India are criticising political parties for their involvement in "mindless violence on minor issues" ahead of the general elections.

Around 30 people were injured when activists of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the new anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) clashed in Delhi on Wednesday.

The incident was triggered by the brief detention of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly violating an election code of conduct in the western state of Gujarat, which is ruled by the BJP.

The clashes took place on the day the Election Commission announced the dates for the general elections to be held in nine phases between April and May.

Describing such incidents as a "stain" on democracy, papers have urged political leaders to be responsible for the conduct of their workers.

"We can only hope this is an aberration and not a sign of things to come in this election…. The party leadership has to take responsibility for the conduct of its workers," says an editorial in the Hindustan Times.

"If the workers understand that any violent behaviour does not have the sanction of the leaders and that they will face disciplinary action, even suspension or expulsion, we are likely to see a drastic reduction in such mindless violence on minor issues," it adds.

The Asian Age urges the police to be alert to defuse such situations during the election period in the country.

"This is not a good sign and the police in all states will have to be alert and decisive in anticipating and defusing situations, and take tough action if need be to ensure that the pitch is not queered for a peaceful casting of ballots in a calm atmosphere that induces wide voter participation…," it says.

The Tribune said the incident was an "ominous beginning" to the election season, and added that "violence in any form by anyone is unacceptable".

Gold smuggling

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has asked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to remove "malicious" content on social media, the Hindustan Times reports.

The poll watchdog said it had received complaints from political parties about such content during last year's state assembly polls.

However, the companies have said that removing all "derogatory" content is difficult because most of their servers are located abroad, the paper says.

In other news, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's third child was born in a hospital in a Delhi suburb this week, The Times of India reports.

Mr Karzai made a brief visit to Gurgaon on Wednesday to see his baby girl in a hospital before going to Colombo, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, told the paper.

Mr Abdali said the baby was delivered in India due to some medical complications.

Meanwhile, a professor in the northern city of Dehradun has set a world record for delivering a non-stop lecture for more than 130 hours, reports the Zee News website.

Arvind Mishra, 26, surpassed the previous record of a Polish teacher who had delivered a lecture for 121 hours in 2009, the website adds.

And finally, a passenger from Dubai was arrested at an airport in the southern state of Kerala for trying to smuggle liquid gold in condoms, reports The Times of India.

Customs officials said the man's baggage contained plastic containers with powdered gold dissolved in a coloured fluid kept in the condoms, the paper reported.

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