Thousands held to thwart rally

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The Independent Online
NEW DELHI (AP, AFP) - Indian police have detained more than 27,000 people around the country to prevent them attending a banned Hindu nationalist rally.

The government fears that the rally, which has been called for tomorrow in a New Delhi park, will trigger Hindu-Muslim riots. More than 1,800 people died in two months of riots after Hindu zealots destroyed a mosque in northern India in December.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, sacked the chief minister of the western state of Maharashtra, Sudhakarrao Naik, for his handling of the recent rioting in Bombay, in which police stood by and the administration of the state virtually collapsed.