Curfew enforced in Indian town after mob set fire to homes

NEW DELHI: Hundreds of Indian security forces enforced a curfew in a tense district yesterday after a mob set fire to the homes of two political figures from the country's low-caste Dalit community.

Amid heightened communal tensions over caste rights, some 5,000 people, angered by earlier Dalit protests, torched the houses of a state legislator and former lawmaker in the Karauli district of the popular tourist state of Rajasthan on Tuesday.

Neither was at home at the time.

" A curfew is in place and we have also deployed 600 to 700 extra security personnel," said Mr Abhimanyu Kumar.

The incident followed violent nationwide protests by tens of thousands of Dalits on Monday that left at least nine dead.

Once dismissed as "untouchables", Dalits make up 200 million of India's 1.25 billion population and are at the bottom of the caste hierarchy. They have been enraged at a Supreme Court ruling last month that banned the automatic arrest of people accused of attacking or harassing Dalits and other marginalised groups. - AFP