Reportage: 1 Nov 84

Army Controls Kanpur. Paris AFP 0628 GMT 1 Nov 84

Army troops took control of the industrial city of Kanpur in northern Uttar Pradesh state early today following violence triggered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by two Sikh members of her security guard yesterday.

Earlier, authorities clamped an indefinite curfew on four districts of the city or nearly four million people, PTI said.

PTI, quoting official sources, also reported a number of cases of arson and looting, but no further details were available.

Sikhs came under attack from angry Hindu crowds in several Indian cities, including New Delhi, yesterday as news of Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination spread.


Sporadic Violence in Country. Delhi Domestic Service 0837 GMT 1 Nov 84

There are reports of sporadic violence in some parts of the country following the assassination of Mrs Gandhi.

In Delhi, arson and violence have been reported from several areas. According to agency reports, curfew has been imposed in some places including Jammu, Kanpur, Patna, Sagar, Varanasi, and Raipur.

In Bombay, shops and business establishments have closed down as a mark of respect to the departed leader. In Trivandrum, people are wearing black badges to mourn the passing away of Mrs Gandhi.


AFP on Violence, Arrests. Paris AFP 0936 GMT 1 Nov 84

The authorities today imposed a curfew on the Indian capital as angry Hindus went on a rampage of burning and looting, seeking fresh revenge for the murder of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Sikh gunmen yesterday

A police announcement said the decision was made to stop the violence which last night left at least three Sikhs dead, according to eyewitnesses, and 200 injured, according to police.

Army troops patrolled the streets, amid reports of sporadic gunfire between police and unidentified gunmen holed up on rooftops.

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, son of assassinated leader Mrs. Gandhi, held an emergency Cabinet meeting to review the situation. officials said.

In other parts of India, the Army reportedly took control of the industrial city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh while police in Bihar State were under orders to shoot troublemakers on sight.

Curfews were in force in most states.

Para-military forces fanned out across this city of six million people today as mobs armed with choppers and clubs set fire to houses, cars and other properties belonging to minority Sikhs in retaliation for Prime Minister Gandhi’s assassination, eyewitnesses said

“It is terrible, they are setting fire to houses, stopping vehicles and looking for Sikhs… it appears that we are in a jungle”, said a panicky resident from the southern district, where foreigners generally live.

One Sikh was found dead here, police said, but witnesses said they saw at least two bodies near the one recovered by police.

Police sources also said 200 people, mostly Sikhs, were injured and half of them were admitted to hospitals here as buses, trucks, cars, scooters, shops and Sikh temples were set on fire last night by outraged Hindus.

Security was tightened around New Delhi’s Sikh temples, which had come under attack yesterday.

Authorities banned the assembly of more than five people in public places were, but there was no report of any arrest.

There were no reports of any new casualties, as Sikhs here appeared to have gone underground for fear of reprisals.

Police this morning also reported cases of arson and looting in Ahmednagar, in the western coastal state of Maharashtra, where police had to open fire to disperse rioters, injuring three of them.

A total of 64 people were arrested following the incidents, in which about 30 shops and 13 vehicles were burned, police sources added.

In the central city of Jabalpur, police also burst tear gas shells to disperse looters and arsonists and similar incidents were reported in other localities, press reports said.


BBC on Worsening ‘Violence’. London BBC World Service 1200 GMT 1 Nov 84

Dispatch by correspondent Tim Llewelyn

There is no doubt that this worsening violence and uncontrollable anger is aimed at the Sikh community. Even as the Army took to the streets, backing up the police and paramilitary security units, large tracts of Delhi were the preserve of the mob. I saw taxis, taxi ranks, smart stores, and small shops and kiosks – almost exclusively Sikh-owned – set alight and burning furiously. Crowds besieged Sikh temples, though the police and Sikhs themselves mostly managed to prevent casualties or damage, the Sikhs brandishing their swords and clubs.

The violence has spread all over the city – residential areas as well as working class and commercial. Casualty figures are vague, but we know of at least five dead in Delhi over the past day, two of the policemen in an exchange of shots involving a mob outside a Sikh temple, and two Sikhs burned alive by frenzied attackers. In one incident, I watched a crowd surrounding a house and finally stuffing blazing wicker chairs to the windows to act as fire torches. Eventually the Army showed up, bayonets fixed, the crowd evaporated.

It is not just Delhi by any means. A similar pattern of anger harassment, and then burning and stealing has brought the Army out onto the streets in at least five other towns – Calcutta, Allahabad, Indore, Varanasi, and Kanpur. Curfews are being imposed in uncountable towns and districts in north and central India.

Sikhs I talked to in Delhi are not satisfied with the protection offered in the capital, and it did look in some incidents as if the police could have done more.


‘Large Scale Violence’ Reported. Paris AFP 1603 GMT 1 Nov 84

At least 65 people were killed, several hundred injured, and thousands rendered homeless today in an orgy of violence that swamped India in the wake of yesterday’s assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikh members of her security guard, local news agencies reported.

Large-scale violence hit 18 towns across India, forcing the administration to call out the Army and impose an indefinite curfew in certain parts of the capital. Curfews were also imposed in most other states.

The PTI news agency said that as many as 65 people, mostly Sikhs, died in the clashes. UNI put the death toll at 60.

An official government spokesman put the nationwide toll at 10.

In two cities of Kanpur and Patna police were given shoot at sight orders after Hindu mob violence against Sikh communities erupted. Earlier similar shoot-at-sight orders were issued in eastern Bihar State.

Source: all daily reports are from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Archive.

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