India

Media worry over 'communal clashes' in northern India

Muslim and Sikh groups are blaming each for the clashes, reports say Image copyright AP
Image caption Muslim and Sikh groups are blaming each for the clashes, reports say

Media in India are concerned over recent communal clashes in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

At least three people died and 20 others suffered injuries when clashes broke out between Sikhs and Muslims in the state's Saharanpur district on Saturday.

Reports say the clashes began after local Muslims protested to the Sikhs, who reportedly started some construction on a disputed land claimed by both communities.

Last year, Hindu-Muslim riots in Muzaffarnagar, another town in Uttar Pradesh, had resulted in the death of 43 people.

Hindi-language newspaper Amar Ujala criticises the state government for its inability to stop the repeat of last year's tragedy.

The paper says that the land dispute was an old issue and the state government should have taken it seriously.

The Mint newspaper also blames the government and the police for the clashes.

"The political leadership was, clearly, in a deep slumber in Lucknow [state capital]. As is always the case in such situations, the police arrived late (conveniently?). By then, the damage was done. This pattern was evident in the Muzzaffarnagar riots, too," the paper says.

The Telegraph sees political reasons behind the clashes because by-elections are due in some parts of the state, including Saharanpur.

"The vote comes at a time sections of the political spectrum seem to have drawn mainly one lesson from Muzaffarnagar: that a communal polarisation may be a sure-fire formula for electoral success," The Telegraph says.

Observers say the Muzaffarnagar riots were believed to have polarised voters on communal lines ahead of the general elections earlier this year.

Meanwhile, state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has denied that the clashes were communal.

"It is wrong to define them as communal riots. These are caste clashes over old disputes like construction of a roof of a gurdwara in Saharanpur," the Hindustan Times quotes him as saying.

'Bugging devices'

Staying with domestic news, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says reports about his house being bugged are "highly speculative", The Indian Express says.

"Reports in a section of the media about listening devices having been found at my New Delhi residence are highly speculative," the paper quotes him as saying.

However, former prime minister Manmohan Singh has urged the government to explain the issue in parliament.

"If ministers' houses are bugged, then it is not a good omen. It should be investigated. How can it happen? It should be explained by the government in the House," the paper quotes Mr Singh as saying.

And finally, India continued its successful run at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday.

Satish Sivalingam won a gold in men's weightlifting, while Ravi Katulu bagged a silver.

Punam Yadav won a bronze in women's weightlifting, the NDTV website reports.

In shooting, Shreyasi Singh won a silver and Asab Mohd secured a bronze.

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