India: mobs hunt for anti-Islam author,25197,22805053-25837,00.html

November 23, 2007

HEAVILY armed Indian troops patrolled the streets of Kolkata last night after a day of violence in which rampaging Muslim mobs demanded the expulsion from the city of the controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

What started as a protest against the long-serving communist government of West Bengal rapidly turned into a violent clash over Nasreen, who lives in a small apartment in the heart of the city of 15 million.

As a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed, neighbours said they believed Nasreen had been forced to flee for her life as the mobs took to nearby streets, burning cars and attacking shopfronts with stones.

Trouble started when protesters gathered in the West Bengal capital to accuse Communist Party-backed gangs of killing villagers who led a campaign against state government plans to build a petrochemical plant and shipyard on local farmland.