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May 29,2007
India clashes leave 11 dead
by UPI

NEW DELHI - Several people were killed Tuesday in India's Rajasthan state during clashes between police and members of a tribe seeking affirmative action consideration.

The Press Trust of India reported at least 11 people had died and about 80 others were injured in three districts of the western desert state and that the army had been called in to clear a major highway blocked by protesting members of the Gujjar community. The highway connects the state capital of Jaipur to New Delhi and other parts of the state.

The report said trouble began after protesters threw stones and clashed with police. Officials told PTI that police used canes and teargas to disperse the crowd before resorting to firing weapons.

A BBC report quoted police as saying they began firing after thousands of Gujjars became violent. The Gujjars accused police of shooting at unarmed crowds.

Members of the community want to be categorized as a scheduled tribe under India's complex affirmative action program, which would give them a quota for jobs and other benefits. Critics say such quotas are only a means for political parties to exploit poor communities for votes.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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