Mobs ruin Indira's party

Toronto Sun
August 16, 1984

NEW DELHI, India (UPI) — Religious and ethnic violence marred India's Independence Day celebrations yesterday. At least one man was killed, more than 100 policemen were injured and 1,600 protesters were arrested, officials said.

India marked its 37th anniversary of independence from Britain with parades and rallies in each of the nation's 22 states.

Officials said most of the celebrations were peaceful but unrelated violence broke out in northern Kashmir and Punjab states and in southern Tamil Nadu.

In the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar, protesters carrying Pakistani flags and chanting anti-Indian slogans were marching to a sports stadium for a celebration when they encountered barricades and began to pelt police with rocks, officials said.

Police fired more than 30 rounds and lobbed tear gas cannisters into the crowd, leaving one man dead and more than 100 policemen injured.

In the northern state of Punjab, Sikh extremists set fire to seven government schools in the Jalandhar district, officials said.

A terrorist group known as the Desh Mesh regiment claimed responsibility for the fires, saying they were protesting "the killing of innocent Sikhs" by army troops who stormed the Golden Temple of Amritsar in June.

In southern Tamil Nadu state, police arrested 1,600 protesters as they marched in rallies across the state.

The arrests came as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told the nation she fears trouble from refugees pouring into Tamil Nadu from the neighboring island nation.

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