Indian police use force, detain hundreds in nothern protest
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state after the killing of a senior public servant.
Police fired teargas and live rounds into the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who took to the streets in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday after the killing of a senior public servant.
The protesters, from the opposition Samajwadi Party, stopped trains in several cities and and blocked traffic in the state capital Lucknow. Police said they detained nearly 1,000 protesters.
The most violent protests took place in the city of Auraiya, where television footage showed stone-throwing protesters and several burning buses.
"We were compelled to fire a few rounds in the air and also release some teargas shells on Samajwadi Party activists," a senior police official said by telephone from Auraiya.
Police also used batons in several areas to disperse protesters, who had vowed to bring Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, to a standstill with a statewide strike on Thursday.
Public works engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta was found beaten to death in Auraiya on Wednesday.
A lawmaker from the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was taken into custody in connection with Gupta's death and will be held until he appears in court on Jan. 7, police said. No formal charges have been laid.
The BSP in Uttar Pradesh is headed by Chief Minister Mayawati, who emerged as a potential kingmaker in Indian politics after state elections last year.
Mayawati, who goes by one name, is known as the "Queen of the Dalits" because of her power base among the Dalits, or untouchables.
National elections are due by May, and some analysts see her party as a potential third force in Indian politics behind the ruling Congress-led administration and the main BJP opposition.
Reuters Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2008, 16:15