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URGENT Police Kill 10 Moslems In Anti-Rushdie Protest In India

February 24, 1989

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Bombay police opened fire today on a crowd of Moslems protesting Salman Rushdie’s book ″The Satanic Verses,″ and at least 10 people were killed and 25 injured, authorities said.

Police said about 5,000 Moslems started the protest in the center of the city after weekly prayers. Protesters set fire to several state-run buses and other vehicles and attacked policemen on duty, said an officer.

Earlier, United News of India news agency reported 10 killed and 38 injured, six of them critically.

Friday is Islam’s weekly holy day, and anti-Rushdie protests were reported elsewhere in India. There were no other reports of violence.

The Bombay demonstrators, almost all Moslems, ignored a police ban on the assembly of more than five people in public places. The ban was imposed after some Moslems announced plans to protest Rushdie’s book, which some say insults Islam.

Rushdie was born into a Moslem family in Bombay in 1947 but now lives in London, where he has been in hiding since Feb. 14 when Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said he should be killed and Iranian clerics placed a $5.2 million bounty on the author’s head.

Protests were held in several other Indian cities, United News of India and Press Trust of India news agencies said.

In New Delhi, about 400 Moslems marched to the British High Commission, or embassy in the diplomatic neighborhood and protested the novel.

At least one person was killed in India’s northern Jammu-Kashmir state Feb. 13 during a demonstration against the book.

Six people were killed in neighboring Pakistan on Feb. 12 when police opened fire on a crowd that tried to set fire to the U.S. Information Service office in Islamabad to demand the book be banned.

India banned Rushdie’s book in November, fearing it could cause unrest.

More than 90 million Moslems live in India, forming about 11 percent of the population of 880 million. Hindus account for 82 percent of the population.

Update hourly